Do too many medicines cause problems for elderly people in Aged Care Facilities?
Australian research (Medicine Safety: Aged Care 2020, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia) suggests that older people (over 75 years) with long term illnesses are very likely to suffer from drug-related problems because they take many different medicines;
- 95% of older patients take 5 or more medicines, have at least one medicine related problem, and most have three problems.
- On average, each patient takes 7 to 10 different medicines and one on four people take 10 or more medicine each day.
- Over half (50%) of all patients in aged care facilities are taking potentially inappropriate medicines.
- One in six medicine-related problems for patients were due to adverse drug side effects.
- One in five patients were admitted to hospital because they were using inappropriate medicines for older people.
- Antidepressants, antipsychotics, hypnotics, sedatives, and drugs acting on the kidneys caused most of the adverse drug interactions for elderly patients.
- Half to three quarters (50-75%) of patients on PPIs (Protein pump inhibitors) were taking these medicines for too long.
“Looking after the elderly is a duty and responsibility that involves every person in society.” Emmanuel Pippos, Consultant Pharmacist