Hospitalizations cause up to 60% of older patients to take medicines that may be potentially inappropriate, a team of researchers has found.

One key reason: Discharged patients often go home with prescriptions for treatments that may be different from those they were taking beforehand.

For the Canada-based study, researchers selected patients who were at least 65 years old. They found that 1,576 people — nearly two-thirds of all patients studied — had been prescribed at least one potentially inappropriate medication at discharge. This included both new PIMs and/or those continued from before their hospitalization.

Nearly 10% of patients experienced a potentially harmful drug reaction. Fully 36% visited the emergency department, were readmitted, and/or died within 30 days after their hospital discharge.

The full study appears in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.