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Elderly at risk of hospitalizations from key medications
Promoting safe use of blood thinners and diabetes medications can protect patients
Atlanta, GA, USA (November 23, 2011) – Each year, there are nearly 100,000 emergency hospitalizations for in U.S. adults aged 65 years or older, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published today in the . Of the thousands of medications available to patients, a small group of blood thinners and diabetes medications caused two–thirds of the emergency hospitalizations, the report said.
“These data suggest that focusing safety initiatives on a few medicines that commonly cause serious, measurable harms can improve care for many older Americans,” said Dan Budnitz, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC′s . “Blood thinners and diabetes medicines often require blood testing and dosing changes, but these are critical medicines for older adults with certain medical conditions. Doctors and patients should continue to use these medications but remember to work together to safely manage them.”
The study used data collected between 2007 and 2009 from a nationally representative sample of 58 hospitals participating in CDC′s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project. Almost half (48.1 percent) of these hospitalizations occur among adults aged 80 years or older, and two–thirds (65.7 percent) of the hospitalizations were due to overdoses, or to situations in which patients may have taken the prescribed amount of medication but the drug had more than the intended effect on the patient′s body.
Four medications, used alone or together, accounted for two–thirds of the emergency hospitalizations:
This study identified specific medication safety issues that provide the greatest opportunities for reducing patient harm and health care utilization today. Continued national monitoring of adverse drug events will be important as new medications are approved and become more commonly used.
CDC scientists noted medications currently identified by
“Policies and improvement programs to promote safe use of medications that most commonly cause serious, measureable harms can increase patient safety and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and costs at the same time,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., M.Sc., chief medical officer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and director of CMS′ Office of Clinical Standards and Quality. “We are working across the federal government to address common preventable adverse drug events through medication management,
One initiative, the
For more information about what CDC is doing to protect older adults from adverse drug events, visit
saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation′s health protection agency.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23.11.2011 (tB).