Study: Older adults make more than half of all trips to the emergency room for adverse drug interactions

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Adults aged 50 and older made more than 1.1 million trips to the emergency room for adverse drug interactions in 2008, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report. Seniors aged 65 and older comprised 61.5% of those visits. Among those seniors, 23.8 % of ER visits were associated with central nervous system drugs, such as pain relievers or anti-anxiety medication. Blood modifiers caused 22.6% of ER visits by seniors.

Roughly 90% of seniors take at least one prescription medication, while 76% take at least two, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. (McKnight's, 9/7/10) According to the SAMHSA report, the findings “underscore the critical importance for continued surveillance of adverse reactions to maintain drug safety.” View the full report here.

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