A new study by the University of Michigan reports that it is common for patients 65 and older to receive potentially inappropriate medications during an emergency department visit. An estimated 19.5 million patients 65 and older received one or more potentially inappropriate medications from 2000 to 2006, according to the study, published in Academic Emergency Medicine (Vol. 17, No. 3).
The study showed medical residents and interns, who were newer to the medical field, were less likely to order inappropriate medications, most likely due to their recent training. Dr. William J. Meurer, lead author of the study, believes further efforts are needed to educate doctors about how different medications can affect older adults.
To help ensure your safety:
- Always carry a list of the medications and dosages you take.
- Upon admission to the emergency department, confirm your primary care physician has been notified.
- Ask your emergency department doctor how long the medications you are treated with will affect you.
- Upon discharge, request a list of medications and dosages you received while in the emergency department and details about any potential side effects.
- Learn more about your medications from your pharmacist.