Saturday, September 09, 2006

The elderly are at risk of drug errors

The elderly are at risk of accidentally harming themselves by taking potentially lethal mixtures of medicines, an expert says.

Pharmacist Kim Munro, of Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University, found just 16% of patients were receiving help with taking their drugs. He surveyed 695 people aged 78 to 86 living in sheltered housing. The poll revealed half were taking more than five different medicines a day, with one in five taking at least 12. Some 14% of the sample were using highly toxic medicines such as warfarin. Meanwhile, anti-inflammatory and blood pressure drugs taken by more than half the people had a high risk of side effects.

The survey, presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester, also suggested the risk of making mistakes was increased by frequent changes in elderly people's medication routines.

Source - full article

BBC News