As individuals grow older, they tend to require more medical intervention, which typically means they require more medications. Healthcare providers use medicines to manage conditions, relieve symptoms and treat disease. Generally speaking, prescription meds are safe, but every once in a while, they do pose some risks. If your loved one lives in a nursing home in New York, it is nice to assume the attendants have everything under control. However, even under the most watchful eye can adverse drug events occur.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an adverse drug event occurs when a medicine causes harm to a person. On average, elderly individuals (those 65 years or older) visit emergency departments approximately 450,000 times each year due to ADEs, which is twice as often as younger persons.
Emergency departments are seven times more likely to hospitalize older adults who visit their stations than they are to hospitalize younger adults. However, most hospitalizations are the result of just a few drugs that any competent healthcare provider could have monitored to prevent issues. For instance, many hospitalizations are the result of an adverse reaction to blood thinners, seizure medications, diabetes medications and heart medicines.
Opioid analgesics are also a major reason for the high rate of ADEs. However, whereas close monitoring can mitigate ADEs due to many other meds, ADEs due to opioids often result in death. In 2015, more than 15,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids.
Antibiotics are also cause for concern, as they are the reason for a vast majority of emergency visits for adverse drug events. ERs treat approximately 150,000 adults for ADEs from antibiotics each year.
This article is for learning purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice.