When we think of the elderly we often have several concerns. We worry about them being alone. We worry about them slipping and falling. We even worry about their minds slipping backward until they have become mentally incapacitated.
The thing that we don’t worry about is the care they receive from their doctor visits. This could possibly be the one thing that we should have been worried about. We blindly trust the medical field, normally this would be safe, and sadly it isn’t always.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that four prescribed drugs lead to the highest drug interaction emergency room visits among elderly patients. These drugs are commonly prescribed and in general considered safe. Two of the drugs are prescribed to combat diabetes and the other two are simply blood thinning prescriptions.
Coumadin is commonly prescribed to patients who have a history of blood clots. This drug was responsible in 33% of elderly visits to the hospital. The largest problem with this drug resulted from blood related emergencies.
Clopidogrel is also given to patients have a tendency to develop blood clots. This particular drug was at fault with 13% of elderly hospitalization. Like Coumadin, the reason that hospitalization became necessary was due to blood related emergencies.
14% of hospital visits resulted from insulin with another 11% coming from oral hypoglycemic medications. Insulin and hypoglycemic medications are known to be a necessary drug to control diabetes. Under normal circumstances, these drugs would be considered safe. The main cause of emergency room visits with diabetic medications resulted from either confusion, seizures and in some cases of a complete loss of consciousness.
All of these can be very scary, especially if your elderly loved one is alone for any part of their day. It’s very important that you discuss what drugs are being taken and what harmful possibilities can come with each drug with the prescribing doctor. Even beyond speaking with a doctor you should always get the full medication facts, which are readily available online.