Medication Monitor: Prescription Drug Overdose in Older Adults
Today's Geriatric Medicine
Medical Subject Headings
Prescription drug overdose is more common among the older adult population than is generally known. As people age, they tend to take more medications, which can lead to adverse drug events or even unintentional drug overdose. Adults aged 65 and older are nearly seven times more likely to be admitted to the hospital due to adverse drug reactions than did younger adults.1
Moreover, due to issues such as chronic pain, older adults are often prescribed pain killers, including opioids. Older adults who use opioids, regardless of whether they are dependent, are 15 times more likely to overdose than their peers who do not use opioids.2 Not only do opioids confer a high risk of dependency but they also can interact negatively with other drugs. It’s imperative for health care providers to address this issue with health programs that can assist with medication management and provide education regarding risks and behaviors that may lead to prescription misuse and overdose associated with these drugs.
Wren, R. (2021). Medication monitor: Prescription drug overdose in older adults. Today's Geriatric Medicine, 14(5), 8. https://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/SO21p8.shtml