More than half of patients hospitalized for medication-related injuries are seniors

Share this article:

The number of patients treated in a hospital after a bad reaction to medication grew 52% between 2004 and 2008. More than half of the errors involved seniors over the age of 65, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The adverse events were caused either by taking or being given the wrong medication or dosage, which can be from reasons ranging from an overdose to a pharmacy error. Out of 838,000 people, the top five categories of medicines causing injury or illness were corticosteroids (283,700 cases), painkillers (269,400), blood-thinners (218,800), drugs to treat cancer and immune system disorders (234,300), and heart and blood pressure medicines (191,300).

Fifty-three percent of hospitalized patients there for medication-related injuries were over age 65, while 3% were under 18. Children and teenagers comprised 22% of emergency cases. The AHRQ, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, also provided data on which patients were treated in an emergency department. Out of the 838,000 people, the majority involve unspecified medicines (261,600), painkillers (118,100), antibiotics (95,100), tranquilizers and antidepressants (79,300), and corticosteroids and other hormones (71,400).

To read more in “Medication-related Adverse Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008,” click here. To see the agency's 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample and 2008 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, click here.

Share this article:

More in News

Skilled nursing facility trends contribute to improved Medicare outlook, Congressional report says

The Medicare trust fund is on track to remain solvent until 2030, trustees of the program stated in a Congressional report released Monday. This improved outlook is due in part to revised expectations about the case mix in skilled nursing facilities.

House bill would define, promote coordinated long-term care services

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives would target improved care coordination for seniors, also adding it under the Older Americans Act.

Seize the day: Tech Awards deadline is tomorrow

Seize the day: Tech Awards deadline is tomorrow

The final countdown has begun: Long-term care providers have less than 48 hours to enter the third annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards. Submissions will be accepted through July 30.