Many of us are spending the Thanksgiving weekend with our parents or other elderly relatives and it's often a time when we begin to notice health issues that we might have overlooked when all our contact is on the phone.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control points out one senior health problem that is especially easy to overlook: adverse drug reactions. According to a study by a CDC researcher that was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly 100,000 adults 65 and over have an emergency hospital admission every year because of reactions to just a few commonly used drugs or classes of drugs.
The main problem drugs, the study says, are warfarin, insulins, antiplatelet agents and oral hypoglycemic agents.
None of these are classified as high-risk drugs; in fact, they are some of the most commonly prescribed medications for older people. Still, the study says that reactions to these drugs accounted for more than two-thirds of drug-related hospital admissions, often because of unintentional overdoses.
If you are caring for an elderly relative, you know that one of the big issues is making sure that your relative takes the right medication dose on the correct schedule. This can be a lot harder than it looks but the study shows that getting these common medications under control can be critical to improving an older person's health.