Inappropriate Prescribing in Elderly Veterans

“Despite many previous studies, we are only beginning to understand the phenomenon of inappropriate prescribing,” say researchers who used a retrospective national Veterans Administration database analysis.

They found that about one third of elderly veterans may have been exposed to potentially inappropriate drugs. The availability of a comprehensive national data source, the investigators say, allowed a closer examination of a problem that has been often discussed but not yet solved.

The study relied on a list of 11 drugs that should always be avoided, eight drugs that are indicated on rare occa­sions, and 14 drugs that have some indications but that are often misused. An expert panel at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed the list.
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The bulk of inappropriately prescribed drugs consisted of pain relievers, benzo-diazepines, antidepressants, and musculo-skeletal agents. Caucasian patients, patients with psychiatric comorbidities, and patients taking more than one prescribed drug were the ones most likely to receive inappropriate drugs.