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Doctors routinely prescribing risky meds to older patients

Senior citizens, are you taking of the 110 drugs doctors say you should avoid? A new report shows that doctors in the U.S. are too frequently prescribing potentially harmful drugs to older patients.

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that one out of every five senior citizens receiving Medicare were prescribed medications that health officials have advised doctors to avoid giving to older patients because of the extremely high risk of severe adverse side effects.

Take a look at the Harvard Pilgrim Health cares list of 110 drugs for the elderly to avoid. Many of the drugs on the list are widely used, especially in younger patients, but their risks are much greater for the elderly. Some of the drugs on the list include:

  • Antihistamines such as Ephedrine, Diphenhydramine and Hydroxyzine
  • Amphetamines like Adderall, Dexedrine and Desoxyn
  • Barbituates such as Amytal, Mephobarbital and Phenobarbital
  • Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Librium and Limbitrol
  • Skeletal muscle relaxants such as Soma, Paraflex and Norflex
  • Oral estrogen
  • Narcotics like Meperidine, Pentazocine and Propoxyphene
  • Vasodilators, such as Ergot mesyloid and Isoxsuprine

The researchers examined data from more than 6 million Medicare patients across the country. They found that about 1.3 million had been prescribed at least one high-risk drug, even though many of them have safer substitutes. Nearly 5 percent of the seniors had been prescribed more than one of these risky drugs at the same time.

This issue, along with elder abuse and nursing home malpractice, are serious concerns for senior citizens and their families.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse or if you have questions regarding prescriptions for senior citizens, you need an experienced elder abuse attorney fighting for you. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO today or fill out our free, no-obligation online consultation form.