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Seniors Not Always Getting Best Medicine

Some elderly patients prescribed inappropriate medications, study finds

MONDAY, Feb. 9, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Inappropriate medications were prescribed for elderly patients during about 8 percent of outpatient visits, says an U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Pain relievers and central nervous system drugs accounted for the majority of those inappropriate prescriptions. The study notes that inappropriate medication use in people 65 and older has been linked to numerous adverse drug reactions, poor physical functioning and excess use of the health-care system.

The study examined data on elderly outpatient visits to hospitals and doctors' offices in 1995 and 2000. In both years, at least one drug considered inappropriate by experts was prescribed during 7.8 percent of those outpatient visits.

At least one drug classified as "never or rarely appopriate" was prescribed during 3.7 percent and 3.87 percent of elderly outpatient visits in 1995 and 2000, respectively.

The chances of receiving an inappropriate prescription were higher for people with multiple prescriptions. Women had double the chance of men.

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SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Feb. 9, 2004
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