American Seniors Taking Too Many Prescription Drugs

American Seniors Taking Too Many Prescription Drugs

A new research study has just been released that shows approximately one-third of American seniors who have Medicare are using more than just one doctor in order to get numerous drug prescriptions. This study reported that getting painkillers from various sources may increase the chance of being hospitalized due to overdosing.

The research study’s main author Dr. Anupam Jena, who is a professor of health care at Harvard Medical School, stated that physicians tell patients not to drive while taking opioids, but it is also important to inform them that it could be dangerous to get these medications from more than just one doctor.

The scientists looked at information from just under two million people who had Medicare for their health insurance. All contributors testified as getting prescription narcotics such as morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. The researchers found that about 35 percent of the participants were prescribed opioids from more than just one doctor. 23 percent of patients admitted to receiving narcotic painkillers from at least two providers, nearly nine percent from three providers and eight percent even stated they were getting medications from over four providers.

Dr. Jena stated that he believed the amount would be around five to ten percent. When the numbers were ran and it came out to be over 30 percent, it was shocking. The National Institutes of Health has stated that over the past twenty years, prescription painkillers have approximately tripled. From 1990 to 2009, prescription narcotics have climbed to at least 200 million each year. If such a trend continues, older patients will end up facing many more health difficulties. They need to be warned about the dangers of overdosing.

The new research study has shown that around one-third of seniors who have Medicare as their insurance company seem to be using more than just one physician in order to get numerous drug prescriptions. The study ended up showing that getting painkillers from many different sources could easily increase the chance of people being put into the hospital due to them overdosing on all the medications they are taking. They must be warned how dangerous their activity is. Many older individuals do not understand how the dosage of medicine builds up in their bodies.

Patients who have at least four prescribers were at least twice more likely to be placed in the hospital for narcotic related complications than were patients who got the same number of prescriptions from only one physician. The scientists decided that doctors need to continue to tell their patients about risks involved with taking numerous prescription painkillers given by more than just one doctor. The research study was printed up in the British Medical Journal.

The new research study has been released that shows approximately one-third of seniors who have Medicare are using more than just one doctor in order to get numerous drug prescriptions. This study reported that getting painkillers from various sources may increase the chance of being hospitalized due to overdosing.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

UPI News

Headlines and Global News

Counsel and Health

2 Responses to "American Seniors Taking Too Many Prescription Drugs"

  1. James W   February 21, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Go ahead and follow the usual route articles like this lead to. Make it more difficult and/or illegal for seniors to obtain these drugs. Which in turn will drive many into the underground drug world to obtain their drugs and thereby criminalize the behavior of otherwise solid citizens. The purveyors of illegal and legal-non physician prescribed drugs love legislative crackdowns on drug use. It’s great for business. Witness the explosion in heroin use–and overdoses–since the crackdown on legal pain killers made it considerably more difficult to obtain them. Decriminalization, legalization and extensive treatment options are the only reasonable answer to drug use.

    Reply
    • chuck nowrist   February 21, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Maybe so, but the issue here is patients upping their own dosage

      Reply

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