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Older Fallers Have Often Been Administered High-Risk Drugs

High-risk medication frequently administered at doses higher than recommended


MONDAY, Nov. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Older fallers have often been administered high-risk medications, frequently at higher-than-recommended doses, according to a study published online Nov. 28 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Nina L. Blachman, M.D., from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study at a large urban academic hospital involving individuals aged 65 years and older experiencing a fall. The authors examined prescribed daily dosages and use of high-risk medications administered within 24 hours before a fall.

The researchers found that 62 percent of the 328 falls occurred in individuals administered one or more high-risk medications within the 24 hours before the fall, with 16 and 16 percent of the falls involving individuals receiving two and three or more medications, respectively. High-risk medications were frequently administered at doses that were higher-than-recommended, especially benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-receptor agonists, for which the dose was higher than recommended in 57 percent of cases. For 41 percent of medications examined, hospital electronic medical record default doses were higher than recommended.

"High-risk medications were administered to older fallers," the authors write. "Decreasing electronic medical record default doses for individuals aged 65 and older and warnings about the cumulative numbers of high-risk medications prescribed per person may be simple interventions that could decrease inpatient falls."

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