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Published on Dec 02, 2011 by Edgar Snyder

Common Medications Lead to Increased Hospitalizations in the Elderly

Drugs lead to hospitalizations in elderly

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control have identified four common medications that they believe lead to an estimated 100,000 hospitalizations of older Americans each year. The four types of medications identified, which consist of a small group of blood thinners and diabetes medications, account for nearly two-thirds of drug-related emergency hospitalizations among people age 65 and older.

The four medications most often cited include: the blood thinning medications Coumadin and Jantoven; insulin used to control blood sugar in patients with diabetes; Plavix, a drug used to prevent blood clots; and oral hypoglycemic agents, another form of diabetes medication taken by mouth.

Among the blood thinning medications, Coumadin and Jantoven, as well as the antiplatelet medicine Plavix, bleeding was the most common side effect. For the diabetes medications, nearly two-thirds of cases involved confusion, loss of consciousness, or seizures.

The alarming nature of these findings creates a challenge for doctors and patients because the medications are often critical for patients' health. To reduce the risk of an adverse drug event, it is important for physicians and patients to discuss pertinent details about a patient's overall health, other medications they may be taking, dosages, and patient preferences. Since most of these medications cannot be stopped because of their essential nature, talking to a physician or pharmacist about identifying potential side effects early could help prevent more serious problems.

You can find more information on dangerous drugs on the firm's website.

Source: "Four Common Meds Send Thousands of Seniors to Hospital." USA Today. November 26, 2011.
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