CDC Publishes Study of Adverse Drug Events in Senior Citizens

By Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari on December 20, 2011

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), there are approximately 100,000 emergency hospitalizations for U.S. senior citizens (over age 65) every year related to adverse drug events (ADEs). The study determined that two-thirds of these emergency hospitalizations are associated with the misuse of a small group of medications, specifically, diabetes medications and blood thinners.

The CDC study, which is entitled “Emergency Hospitalizations for Adverse Drug Events in Older Americans” in the NEJM, concluded that four particular diabetes and blood thinning medications caused the majority of ADEs in older adults. These medications are Warfarin, insulin, anti-platelet drugs, and oral diabetes medications called oral hypoglycemic agents. Data collected between 2007 and 2008 from 58 hospitals nationwide concludes that the highest number of emergency hospitalizations, 33 percent, involved Warfarin, a blood thinning medication used to prevent blood clots.

Diabetes medications and blood thinners are commonly used and necessary medications for older adults. These also require attentive management by medical professionals. Oftentimes, doctors and nurses who care for a large number of patients prescribe incorrect dosage amounts and/or forget to perform the necessary tests to determine the dosage level and efficacy of these medications, increasing the risk of ADEs in older patients. Two-thirds of all ADE emergency hospitalizations are the result of contraindicated use of the aforementioned medications.

Medical professionals have a responsibility to provide an appropriate level of care to their patients, young and old. Medication errors are especially dangerous for older adults and pediatric patients but have the potential to cause serious injury and/or illness in a patient of any age.

At Blume Forte, our experienced medical malpractice lawyers in New Jersey are committed to pursuing meritorious claims of medical negligence.

To learn more about protecting your rights and the potential to pursue a claim surrounding this important medication issue, contact us for a no-cost consultation at (973) 635-5400.

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