A Prescription for Trouble

#heart #patients #medications #polypharmacy #AHA

Some older Americans are taking a staggering number of Rx medications. For those at risk for heart failure, some of those drugs might be making their problems even worse.

A report by the American Heart Association reveals more than 50% of older heart failure patients leave the hospital with at least 10 Rx medications in their name. The study of 558 adults over 65 anni finds a staggering 84% took 5 or more drugs before entering a hospital and 42% were taking over 10.

Even more concerning, after the seniors’ hospital stay, doctors prescribed even more medications.

Nearly every patient, 95% had been prescribed at least 5 medications and 55% were taking over 10 after discharge. While 41% of seniors hospitalized from Ys 2003 to 2006 had over 10 medications, that number skyrocketed to 68% between Ys 2011 and 2014.

Despite being hospitalized for heart trouble, study authors find most of the prescriptions seniors were taking, heart failure medications, aspirin and statin drugs do not treat the heart at all.

High medication burden, also known as polypharmacy, is commonly associated with adverse events and reactions,” says study senior author Parag Goyal in a media release. “As the treatment options for various conditions including heart failure expand and the population ages, it is becoming increasingly important to weigh the risks and possible benefits of multiple medications.”

Advances in medicine have provided patients with an increasing number of treatment options. This is a good thing. However, it is important to also consider the negative consequences of more medications prescribed for each patient,” the director of the Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction Program at Weill Cornell Medicine concludes.

The study appears in the AHA journal

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