Polypharmacy May Endanger Seniors

Polypharmacy may endanger seniors

Kaiser Health News (8/30, Gorman) reports in a 1,500-word article that many seniors take multiple medications to manage chronic diseases, and that those medications may have interactions that lead to dangerous side effects.

The issue of “polypharmacy” is compounded when specialists prescribe drugs, but are not in communication with a patient’s other physicians. According to a 2014 action plan by HHS, more than half of older adults’ visits to the hospital involve drug complications. A 2006 Institute of Medicine study found that “400,000 preventable ‘adverse drug events’ occur each year.” UCLA Santa Monica boasts a geriatric unit that limits the number of beds available, and where “readmissions related to drug problems declined from 22 to three.”