A federal study revealed that one in every 250 Americans ends up in an emergency room as a result of an adverse reaction to medications. The rate rises to about one in every 100 people among those over 65. The researchers noted that the medications responsible for these hospital visits haven’t changed over the last few decades.
On top of the list of common medications sending Americans to the ER are blood thinners, antibiotics, and diabetes medications. Study coauthor Dr. Daniel Budnitz explained, “The same drugs are causing the most problems.”
Unfortunately, determining exactly what happened is not always possible. For example, in case of blood thinners, there needs to be constant blood monitoring, as these drugs pose a risk of internal bleeding. Hence, there is a risk of complications in the absence of proper monitoring.
While there is an improvement in the safety of medications administered in a hospital setting, there is no control over it once the patient leaves the hospital and starts taking medications at home. Moreover, seniors with numerous health conditions face the added risk of drug interactions.
While the present study looked at common medical drugs, researchers suggest other types of remedies and supplements can lead to an increased risk of harm, too. These include over-the-counter medications, homeopathic remedies, and natural supplements.
Dr. Chad Kessler, coauthor of an accompanying editorial added, “When administrators, physicians, and other healthcare personnel as well as the public recognize how large a problem this is, only then can we take the needed steps to remedy this.”