Given the health problems that come with increased age, older people in the United States represent a high percentage of healthcare patients and often end up taking an array of pills. Currently, the average 65-year-old is taking four prescription medications. Taking multiple drugs poses a risk for adverse drug-to-drug interactions that can cause serious complications, but a recent study reveals a more disturbing trend.
Brown University researchers who reviewed the medical data of more than 6 million seniors in the Medicare Advantage program discovered that many are being prescribed high-risk medications not recommended for people over age 65, even when safer alternatives are available. The problem is much more pronounced in Southern states, where older patients are 12 percent more likely to be taking a dangerous drug than patients in New England. Drugs that are effective and safe for younger patients can be harmful for seniors, who do not metabolize chemical substances in the same manner. There are 110 such drugs.
The study showed the following for seniors:
- One in five is taking a high-risk drug.
- One in three in the South is taking a high-risk drug.
- One in 10 in the South is taking two high-risk drugs.
In New Mexico, 20 to 25 percent of seniors have a prescription for at least one dangerous drug, although this percentage rises to 38 percent for seniors living in the southeastern corner of our state.
Improperly prescribing a high-risk medication to a senior patient violates the standard duty of care, and patients who are harmed as a result may have grounds for medical malpractice.
If you or a family member have been injured because of an avoidable prescription mistake, it’s important to seek assistance from a New Mexico personal injury attorney. Our legal team at Revo Smith Law believes that negligent medical professionals who endanger their patients should be held accountable.