Mixing drugs a danger--especially for elderly.
'The public has an awareness that two prescription medications used together might be dangerous,' said study author Stacy Tessler Lindau of the University of Chicago Medical Center. 'But what people don't fully appreciate is that nonprescription drugs can interact with prescription drugs and even other nonprescription drugs.'
About a third of older adults use 5 or more prescriptions and about half use over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements, the study found. More than half of older adults used 5 or more prescription medications, over-the-counter medications or dietary supplements while 29% took more than 5 prescription medications. More than half of the dangerous drug combinations included the use of aspirin or blood thinners such as warfarin. The most common dangerous combination of non-prescription drugs was Ginkgo biloba and aspirin, which can increase the risk of internal bleeding when taken together.
Researchers at the University of Chicago studied the medication use of 3 500 people aged 57-85 living independently across the USA to create a representative sample. When extrapolated to the general population, the study found that some 2.2 million people were at risk from dangerous combinations of medications. US adults over the age of 65 are taken to the emergency room more than 175 000 times every year because of bad reactions to medication.
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|Publication:||CME: Your SA Journal of CPD|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2009|
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