“When prescribing Rx the risks and benefits must be weighed carefully, as natural remedies are often available“– Paul Ebeling
Study: 34% of older Americans are prescribed drugs they may not/do not need.
In fact, these patients are prescribed 2X as many Rx drugs as needed and are nearly 2X as likely to be hospitalized or wind up in the emergency department for this ongoing medical malpractice.
Further, on average, they pay more than $450 a year in extra healthcare costs, the researchers said.
“Inappropriate prescribing to older adults can have significant adverse clinical and financial impact,” said a clinical assistant professor at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, in New York.
“As the age of the US population continues to rise, use of inappropriate medications in this population will continue to be a public health challenge,” he added.
The most likely drugs to be inappropriately prescribed included 1st-generation antihistamines like diphenhydramine; antipsychotics like haloperidol, risperidone, or olanzapine, benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium); nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); proton pump inhibitors and long-acting sulfonylureas like glyburide.
Among more than 218-M older adults who took part in a survey conducted by the US Public Health Service and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the researchers found that 34% were prescribed at least 1 potentially inappropriate drug.
Patients most likely to be prescribed inappropriate Rx medications are those who believe they are not in good health, and want more medication compared with others their age.
Because the patients that had more potentially inappropriate Rx medications prescribed thought their health was not as good as others, that may explain why they sought out care and treatment.
Some of the factors contributing to prescribing of inappropriate medications are the need of doctors to offer help, the demand from patients for something to help, and a doctor’s lack of awareness of medications’ effects and risks on older adults.
Also, medical doctors are not informed about or have access to other options to assist older adult patients in their care.
Such inappropriate medications cost extra, but they are likely covered by insurance and not as costly to patients, as opposed to non-pharmacologic treatments, which are often not covered by insurance.
“When prescribing medications, the risks and benefits must be weighed”
Medications with a good safety profile that are not long-acting should be tried 1st and explained to patients and their families.
Clinicians must learn to try alternative treatment options 1st and try to minimize pharmacologic intervention when and where they are able to
The report was published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
“Americans are not only being prescribed unnecessary drugs, in my opinion, but are being charged prices that are far beyond what you can buy internationally when traveling. Not only are drugs cheaper in Canada and Mexico but I have found some are one-tenth the costs overseas, especially in places like the Far East. In reality we are solely underwriting their costs versus the rest of the world where many drugs are actually manufactured.
Yes, the President is right on target to attack the pharmaceutical companies in their overpricing policies, especially to the older generation – those over 50 where most of the drugs are sold. As an older person we are being adversely penalized by the drug companies because most insurance companies do not cover 100% of the drugs retail purchase price.
“So, not only are we being overly prescribed to drugs but we are over-paying for them too. Most people think that certain medications that they are taking is mentally the only solution to their health concerns. Unfortunately we are not taught that non-prescriptive, natural drugs can be just as good and probably better in some cases than prescriptive drugs.
“It is however understandable why doctors prescribe drugs because often many require return visits to the prescriber after 90-days for renewal for which they charge naturally. Further, many users are kept on certain drugs too long just so the doctors and retailers can benefit, not us the consumer.”
Bang, so who is really at fault?
“Both of the doctors, the retailers and the insurance companies are. So, should they not be forced to monitor this? Absolutely, there must be a better way to monitor this, and with penalties too! The problem begins, in my opinion, because the doctors get to generate more billings to the insurance companies for charging for these unnecessary office visits. Insurance companies wrongly do not monitor this because of the costs but they should, given the extra profits they make.
“Further, the more the doctor prescribes, the more probably, as an extra reward in the form of free samples, they most likely get too. In addition how many times have you been sold by the pharmacist sample drugs which they get for free!“
Is that right?
“Why are they not forced to educated us, the consumer, in alternative, natural medicines. A solution might be to force our schools to teach us about them, like grandmother used to do. Can you remember those days of tea, honey and lemons, cinnamon, take two aspirins and call me tomorrow,” says healthcare management expert Bruce WD Barren
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!