Medication Errors May Be Preventable for Elderly in Kentucky

Posted on Feb 15, 2013

A recent study looked at how medication errors could be reduced for our nation’s elderly population. Currently, the elderly make up about 15% of the total population in the United States, but they take about 30% of the prescription drugs in this country.

According to a recent study completed at Jefferson University’s School of Population Health, there are certain drugs that seniors should not take because they are simply too risky for them. However, the study suggests that some doctors are unaware of the risks to seniors and prescribe the medications anyway. The doctors who conducted the study found that the number of medication errors made in the senior population could be reduced if doctors knew about the dangerous drugs.

A pilot project was conducted that educated doctors about inappropriate medications using the Beers Criteria, first published in 1991. At the end of the three-year study, there was a 10% drop in the number of inappropriate and potentially unsafe medications that were prescribed to seniors. Doctors in Italy have already adopted new procedures based on this study.

Some of the potentially dangerous and inappropriate drugs include certain types of antihistamines, heart medications, pain medications, anxiety medications, and over-the-counter drugs. Often, there are alternative medicines that can be prescribed to treat a problem in a safer way if a certain medication is on the Beers List.

Our Kentucky medication error lawyers hope that this recent study results in increased medication safety for elderly patients here in Kentucky and throughout the world.

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Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law