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Too many older people taking medications inappropriately

Taking medications inappropriately is putting older people at risk of death and hospitalisation, study finds 

Many older people in the community are taking prescription medications inappropriately, increasing the risk of mortality and hospitalisation, new study results suggest.

To examine patterns of prescription drug use in older people, a team of researchers from Ghent University in Belgium studied 503 community-dwelling adults aged 80 and over for an 18-month period.

They found that more than half (58%) of patients were taking five or more long term medications daily, but few were taking them appropriately; underuse occurred in 67% of patients and misuse occurred in 56% of those studied, with some overlap between the two groups.

Just 17% of patients were not affected by any kind of underuse or misuse.

The researchers said that, over the 18-month study period, underuse was associated with a 39% increased risk of mortality and a 26% increased risk of hospitalisation per underused medication.

‘Taking too many medications


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