Prescription Drug Dangers
Thursday, March 26, 2009

Older people take more prescription and over-the-counter drugs, putting them at greater risk for dangerous drug interactions. Dr. Edward Hill discusses medication use by older Americans in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Four out of five older adults in the United States regularly take at least one prescription drug and slightly more than half take five or more prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements putting them at greater risk for potentially dangerous and even life-threatening medication interactions.

According to one study, 175,000 emergency room visits each year result from drug interactions or other adverse drug events among older people.

The survey suggested that 2.2 million older Americans are taking drug combinations that could place them at risk.

The survey by University of Chicago researchers interviewed 3,000 people between the ages of 57 and 85. Overall, 68 percent of older adults who regularly took at least one prescription drug were also using over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements or both.

Researchers recommended that patients keep a list of all their medications and make sure close family members also have the list. You also may want to use one pharmacy or pharmacy chain so all the drugs you or a loved one takes are in one database.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.