More than every second older person is said to have received at least one drug last year that could possibly have undesirable side effects. This is shown by an analysis by the Scientific Institute of the AOK.
Every second elderly person receives potentially unsuitable medication. As a result, there is a risk of undesirable changes or side effects such as a drop in blood pressure and visual disturbances, according to an analysis published on Thursday by the Scientific Institute of the AOK (Wido). Women are particularly affected.
According to this, more than half of the prescriptions of such drugs concern gastric protection preparations, the so-called proton pump inhibitors. These drugs are prescribed, among other things, for symptoms such as acid reflux, to prevent stomach bleeding when taking painkillers or anticoagulants, to a gastrointestinal ulcer.
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Long-term use of these drugs is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, fractures and certain infections, especially in older people. According to the analysis, the frequently prescribed potentially inappropriate drugs also include some active ingredients for pain, antidepressants and drugs for bladder and prostate problems.
According to the Wido study in 2022, around 8.3 million people over the age of 65 in Germany were prescribed at least one potentially unsuitable drug that could lead to undesirable consequences. That was a proportion of 50.3 percent in this age group.
The number of drugs prescribed at the same time increases significantly with age. In 2022, 43 percent of people over the age of 65 with statutory health insurance were treated with more than five different active ingredients at the same time. Older patients are therefore particularly at risk of suffering from adverse drug events.
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“Medication side effects such as tiredness, drop in blood pressure or visual disturbances can lead to falls or cognitive impairment and in some cases even be life-threatening,” explained Wido Managing Director Helmut Schröder. It is therefore positive that the proportion of prescriptions for potentially unsuitable medication has decreased over the past ten years. While the proportion of prescriptions for older people was 14.6 percent in 2013, the proportion in 2022 was 12.3 percent.
I’m Caroline, a journalist and author for 24 Hours Worlds. I specialize in health-related news and stories, bringing real-world impact to readers across the globe. With my experience in journalism and writing in both print and online formats, I strive to provide reliable information that resonates with audiences from all walks of life.