- Helen Santoro
Older people take many medications every day, but there is growing evidence that this can sometimes be wrong.
When my grandmother, Carol Mitchell, developed Parkinson’s disease in 2010 at the age of 72, her doctor prescribed a drug called carbidopa / levodopa. She took this small, elliptical-shaped pill four times a day – at seven in the morning, eleven in the morning, three in the evening, and seven in the evening.
In the following years, his doctors prescribed medications for skin problems, depression, motion sickness, anxiety, acid reflux and early breast cancer.
“I went into her bedroom and there were bottles of medicine everywhere,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, Caroline’s mother and daughter. “I googled their name to see what they are for.”
For Carol, now 82, it was very difficult to take all of these drugs on time. “I don’t want to take drugs like that,” Carol says. “I think it’s too much. I can’t leave the house because I have to take these drugs.”
As a result, Carol was not able to take all of her Parkinson’s medications on time, and when she missed the recommended doses the symptoms of the disease, such as tremors, stiffness, difficulty speaking and walking, and sometimes worse, returned.
In the last four years, he has been transferred to the emergency department four times due to which he has been hospitalized twice.
To make it easier to take the basic Parkinson’s disease pills, Elizabeth advised her mother to stop taking as many medications as possible with the help of her doctor, and today Mitchell is taking only Parkinson’s. “I feel so much better because I take less medication,” Carol says.
But for many elderly patients who take a lot of medications, it is not so easy to stop some medications.
The “excessive drug use” that often describes a single patient usually taking five or more drugs is on the rise, and is expected to increase as life expectancy increases and the world population ages.
Elderly people not only take a lot of medications, but also face a higher risk of serious side effects because their livers are less effective at metabolizing and removing drugs from the bloodstream.
This risk is increased because interactions between certain drugs can be harmful, and half of patients taking four or more drugs do not take them as prescribed by a pharmacologist or toxicologist.
The World Health Organization considers “overuse of drugs” to be a major public health problem that leads to millions of hospitals with adverse drug reactions and billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs.
Researchers and pharmacists are racing to solve the problem of drug overdose, but it is very difficult to do so.
Tobias Treschult, a pharmacist at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany and one of the authors of the annual review article, says, “There is not even a debate about the need to test whether the balance between harm and benefit is consistent over time.
Tricholt conducted research at the University of Dundee in Scotland and was a member of a study group that published a series of guidelines to help physicians and pharmacists in the country reduce the use of unwanted or dangerous drugs.
Since these guidelines were implemented in 2012, the number of over-the-counter and over-the-counter medications prescribed to patients has decreased.
But now the question is: is it possible to use similar practices in the European Union and other countries around the world?
According to Emily Reeve, a researcher and pharmacist at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, “Emily Reeve studies ways to reduce the impact of overuse,” historically, medical treatment guidelines have no suggestions on when or how to discontinue medications. Aging adults in the last decade. Medicine “.
The number of people aged 65 and over is increasing worldwide. In the United Kingdom, for example, the number of these ages is expected to increase by 67 percent – or an additional 8.2 million people, similar to the population of London today – from 2019 to 2068.
In the United States, from 2018 to 2060, the number of these age groups is expected to increase by 81 percent or an additional 42.3 million people.
As people age, from osteoporosis to heart disease and cancer, chronic medical conditions become more common. For medical systems in many countries, the prescribing method for treating these diseases is desirable.
According to Levine Research, a non-profit center, 42 percent of seniors in the United States take five or more medications a day. Nearly 20 percent take 10 or more medications. In the last 20 years, drug use cases have tripled across the country.
According to an investigation by Probablica Newsroom, doctors may prescribe more drugs to patients who rely on the pharmaceutical industry for profit. Physicians who are paid to prescribe a particular drug are more likely to prescribe this drug than physicians who do not benefit financially, the chamber said.
In 2015, more than half of all physicians in the United States received $ 2.4 billion in pharmaceutical funding.
Another factor that exacerbates this problem is the lack of communication between the different physicians the patient goes to, which leads to prescribing medications without proper communication. Thus, the appearance of a new disease may actually be a side effect of a drug.
“All medical professionals focus only on their areas,” said Grace Lou Yaw, an oncologist at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
Also, many patients, including cancer patients studying Grace, do not have a physician to help them see the full picture of their treatment and health.
“Where is someone going to look for possible contacts, or are you going to tell a patient to stop taking certain medications?” Grace asks.
Sometimes it is necessary to prescribe several drugs at once. For example, to prevent a heart attack from recurring in a patient, treatment may include medications that lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and prevent blood cells from sticking together.
But when the risks of the drugs outweigh the potential benefits, patients are exposed to significant health effects. Every day, 750 elderly people are hospitalized with serious side effects of medications, including anesthesia, allergic reactions and internal bleeding.
With each additional medication the patient takes, the risk of an adverse reaction increases by seven to ten percent.
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