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'Other' drug problem: Too many prescriptions for elderly

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(WASHINGTON POST) — Dominick Bailey sat at his computer, scrutinizing the medication lists of patients in the geriatric unit.

 

A doctor had prescribed blood pressure medication for a 99-year-old woman at a dose that could cause her to faint or fall. An 84-year-old woman hospitalized for knee surgery was taking several drugs that were not meant for older patients because of their severe potential side effects.

 

And then there was 74-year-old Lola Cal. She had a long history of health problems, including high blood pressure and respiratory disease. She was in the hospital with pneumonia and had difficulty breathing. Her medical records showed she was on 36 medications.

 

“This is actually a little bit alarming,” said Bailey, a pharmacist.

 

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