Four Medications Linked To Most Emergency Hospitalizations for Older Adults

Blood thinners and diabetes drugs cause most emergency hospital visits for drug reactions among people over 65 in the United States, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that four medications or medication groups - used alone or together - were responsible for two-thirds of emergency hospitalizations among older Americans. The investigators looked at data from 58 hospitals participating in a surveillance project run by the C.D.C. that looks at adverse drug events. The findings include: 46% of hospitalizations involved medicines used to prevent blood clots; Warfarin, was responsible for one third of hospitalizations. Another 25% involved diabetes medications, either insulin injections or medicines taken by mouth. The researchers estimated that 265,802 visits to emergency departments for adverse drug events occurred from 2007 to 2009 for adults 65 or older. More than a third of these visits, or nearly 100,000, required hospitalization. The investigators found that unintentional overdose of medication was the most common reason, accounting for nearly two-thirds of hospitalizations. (Source: DIA Daily, Nov. 28, 2011).