Education, Reminders Reduce Risky Prescriptions for Elders in the ED

From Medscape:

Systematic education and reminders can reduce prescriptions in emergency departments that can be inappropriate for older patients, researchers say.

A program that implemented such measures in four Veterans Affairs emergency departments “had significant reductions in potentially inappropriate medications,” said Melissa Stevens, MD, from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

About 60% of older patients receive at least one new drug when they are discharged from an emergency department, Dr Stevens reported. And they are not always appropriate.

In fact, one study showed that 11.6% of elderly veterans discharged from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, were prescribed a drug that should be avoided in older patients (J Am Geriatr Soc. 2008;56:875-880). And those who received the inappropriate drugs suffered adverse events sooner than those who received no drugs or only appropriate drugs.

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