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Medications Cause Serious Issues

Dec. 14--DECATUR -- Each year, adverse reactions to medications cause approximately 100,000 emergency hospital visits for American adults 65 and older. The figure comes from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study found that a small group of diabetes medications and drugs to prevent blood clots were causing about two-thirds of the hospitalizations, according to a news release issued by the CDC. The information was collected between 2007 and 2009 by the centers' National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project.

"These data suggest that focusing safety initiatives on a few medicines that commonly cause serious, measurable harms can improve care for many older Americans," said Dr. Dan Budnitz, director of CDC's Medication Safety Program. "Blood thinners and diabetes medicines often require blood testing and dosing changes, but these are critical medicines for older adults with certain medical conditions. Doctors and patients should continue to use these medications but remember to work together to safely manage them."

Approximately 48 percent of the hospitalizations mentioned in the study occurred in those 80 and older, and two-thirds were caused by overdoses or in situations where patients might have taken the amount of medication as prescribed, but the drug caused more than the intended effect in the person's body.

Continue reading the complete article by Annie Getsinger, Herald & Review, Decatur, Ill. 
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

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