Overprescribing the Healthy Elderly: Why Funding Research and Drug Safety Is ParamountJUNE 30, 2011
A recent study of elderly ICU survivors found that 85 percent were discharged with 1 or more potentially inappropriate medicines, with more than 50 percent in that group discharged with medications deemed more harmful than beneficial (Morandi et al, 2011). The authors press for more attention to appropriateness reviews, with the rationale for starting each therapy in the ICU, and discussion of when it can be stopped.
Brian Strom, MD, professor of public health and pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania, describes the issues this way: "The problem is Congress and our research agencies. They fund so little work on the pharmacology of the aged and other demographic subgroups, and their risk of drug interactions. And, there is phenomenally small, and shrinking by 60% (down to $5.1 million/year), amount of money being spent supporting the Centers for Education and Research and Therapeutics, who are charged with doing studies that industry would not fund, and with changing prescribing to be more rational."