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14% of older Irish people prescribed 'inappropriate' drugs

One of the most frequently inappropriately prescribed drugs was aspirin – given to those with no history of brain or heart problems.

A NEW STUDY has found that 14% of people in Ireland over the age of 65 have been prescribed at least one inappropriate form of medication in their lives.

The study by RCSI and Trinity College also found that 30% of older people have not been prescribed clinically indicated medications at least once in their lives.

The most frequently inappropriate prescribed drugs were non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications which were given to patients with moderate-severe hypertension; and aspirin dispensed to those with no history of coronary, cerebral, or peripheral vascular symptoms.

“These figures of potentially inappropriate prescribing and omissions in patient’s medication are worrying,” commented RCSI’s Dr Rose Galvin.

“We also found that the most common prescribing omission were antidepressant drugs in the presence of patients with moderate to severe depressive symptoms that could last at least three months,” he went on.

The research found a direct correlation between this issues and the use of multiple medications by a patient. They concluded that the application of a screening tool to assist prescribing decisions can reduce unnecessary medication, related adverse events, healthcare utilisation and cost.

“It is clear that doctors and pharmacists who dispense these medications to patients must be extra-vigilant when dispensing and prescribing medicines to their patients,” Galvin said. “Better efforts should be directed to place particular focus on appropriateness of medication issued to patients both with respect to under and over-prescribing.”

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