Study: Most older adults are aware of drug risks

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A new survey from the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie in Montréal, Canada, found that older adults are aware of the risks of the medication they take.

Certain medications may have risks for older adults that outweigh their potential benefit, but despite recommendations about potentially inappropriate medications, 25 percent of older adults were found to take at least one potentially inappropriate medication each year.

The study, published Friday in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, found that even though 70 percent of older adults would be willing to stop taking certain medications, doctors continue to prescribe some potentially problematic drugs to older adults.

Of 2,665 participants age 65 or older, 88 percent reported using at least one prescription medication within the past 12 months. Nearly 42 percent used medicines considered potentially problematic for older adults, including sedatives, tranquilizers and sleeping pills, the type 2 diabetic medicine Glyburide, and proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux.

The study found that 65 percent of participants surveyed were aware that some prescriptions they were taking could be potentially harmful, and 42 percent of participants had discussed stopping one or more prescribed medications with their doctor.

Only 7 percent of participants were familiar with the term de-prescribing, the medical term for taking a person off prescribed medication to improve health or reduce risk for side effects. Roughly half of those surveyed had also researched information about medications on their own.
Amy Wallace

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