Hospitalizations for Medication and Illicit Drug-related Conditions on Rise for Age 45+

The number of hospital admissions among Americans ages 45 and older for medication and drug-related conditions doubled between 1997 and 2008, according to a new report released today by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Medication and drug-related conditions include effects of both prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as illicit drugs. Hospital admissions among those 45 years and older were driven by growth in discharges for three types of medication and drug-related conditions — drug-induced delirium; “poisoning” or overdose by codeine, meperidine and other opiate-based pain medicines; and withdrawal from narcotic or non-narcotic drugs. Admissions for all medication and drug-related conditions grew by 117 percent — from 30,100 to 65,400 — for 45- to 64-year-olds between 1997 and 2008. The rate of admissions for people ages 65 to 84 closely followed, growing by 96 percent, and for people ages 85 and older, the rate grew by 87 percent. By comparison, the number of hospital admissions for these conditions among adults ages 18 to 44 declined slightly by 11 percent. The new AHRQ report also shows that Medicare and Medicaid were responsible for 57 percent of the $1.1 billion cost to hospitals in 2008 for treating patients with medication and drug-related conditions, private insurance covered 24 percent, and the uninsured accounted for 14 percent. The remaining 5 percent of hospital costs for treating these conditions were borne by other sources such as TRICARE.
http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2010/hospmedpr.htm