20 Percent of Seniors Getting Inappropriate Drugs
One out of every five seniors is taking inappropriately prescribed medicines for everything from allergies to depression, a new study has found.
Researchers in the Netherlands studied prescription data from both Europe and the United States and found that the average inappropriate prescription rate for people over 65 is 20.5 percent.
Among the most frequently overprescribed drugs include the antihistamine diphenhydramine and the anti-depressant amitriptyline.
The first is prescribed for everything from coughs and colds to insomnia and motion sickness. It is available over the counter strength in a long list of medications, including Benadryl , Simply Sleep and Triaminic Cough & Runny Nose. Amitriptyline is a prescription-only antidepressant, one of a class known as tricyclics. It’s prescribed to treat not only depression but also eating disorders and anxiety.
Other over-prescribed drugs include doxazosin, which treats high blood pressure as well as benign prostate enlargement.
Besides the risk of side effects, inappropriate prescribing means that the drugs aren’t as effective with patients as they could be. And ineffective prescriptions add up to millions of wasted dollars.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Amsterdam and and the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, was published in the journal “PLoS ONE.”