Here's a recap of recent blog posts and other news.
We've had a lot of global interest in our
Some thought-provoking facts that tell us we're on the right track:
- Medication costs for US seniors is $140 billion per year, with many of them being potentially inappropriate or unnecessary. Many currently prescribed meds are on the "do not prescribe" or "prescribe with great caution lists" for older adults.
- Over-medication may contribute to dementia, delirium, cognitive impairment, falls, and death.
- Falls in US seniors have a direct medical cost of $31.3 billion per year, and meds are a significant contributor to them.
- Adverse drug events in the United States have direct costs of $3.5 billion per year -- including doctor visits, dispensing fees, and hospital admissions. About 30% of adverse drug events are considered avoidable.
- About one-third of adverse events in hospitalizations include a drug-related harm, leading to longer hospital stays and greater expense.
- One-fifth of patients discharged from the hospital have a drug-related complication after returning home, many of which are preventable.
- Two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more chronic conditions, and almost half take five or more medications. Over a year, almost 20% take 10 or more drugs or supplements.
- At least one in five older patients are on an inappropriate medication -- one that they can do without or that can be switched to a different, safer drug.
- One study found that 44% of frail, older patients were prescribed at least one drug unnecessarily.
- A study of over 200,000 older veterans with diabetes found that over half were candidates for dropping a blood pressure or blood sugar control medication.
- Some studies cite even higher numbers -- 60% of older Americans may be on a drug they don't need.
For the article Pharmacies miss half of dangerous drug combinations, a Chicago Tribune reporter took a deadly prescription combination to a range of pharmacies from chains to small independents. "Fifty-two percent of the pharmacies sold the medications without mentioning the potential interaction, striking evidence of an industrywide failure that places millions of consumers at risk."
This is not just a US problem or a senior-citizen problem. Anyone on 5+ meds can likely benefit from a medication review with a focus on de-prescribing. And drug payors should be interested in this too -- the costs of meds are skyrocketing, as are the costs associated with their inappropriate use.
We continue to invite beta testers from around the globe to test drive and provide feedback on TaperMD.com.
Thank you for your support.
Your feedback, as always, is greatly appreciated.
David Healy, MD