Four drugs cited as most responsible for hospital emergency room visits
Doctors, patients need to be acutely aware of dosage requirements
There are four drugs are the most responsible for hospital emergency
room visits. A new study from researchers from the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, singles out four drugs and drug classes -
warfarin, oral antiplatelet medications, insulins and oral hypoglycemic
The study comes as the Obama administration has sought to decrease the number of emergency room visits by upwards of 20 percent.
As published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there are several key issues doctors and patients need to become aware of. Adverse reactions to medication need to be tightly monitored. According to researchers, nearly 100,000 hospitalizations annually are linked to adverse drug events such as allergic reactions and unintentional overdoses. Nearly half, 48.1 percent, were elderly adults 80 years old or older.
"These data suggest that focusing safety initiatives on a few medicines that commonly cause serious, measurable harms can improve care for many older Americans," lead study author Dr. Daniel Budnitz says. "Blood thinners and diabetes medicines often require blood testing and dosing changes, but these are critical medicines for older adults with certain medical conditions.
"Of the thousands of medications available to older patients, a small group of blood thinners and diabetes medications caused a high proportion of emergency hospitalizations for adverse drug events among elderly Americans," Budnitz added.
Unintentional overdoses also remain a top concern. Staggered overdoses, where the patient takes more than prescribed on a daily basis, only to have more toxic material retained over that period has been proven to be more deadly than a single, concerted overdose.
Between 1992 and 2008, 663 patients were admitted with paracetamol-induced severe liver injury, of which 161 had taken a staggered overdose. Staggered overdose patients were significantly older and more likely to abuse alcohol than single time point overdose patients. Relief of pain was the commonest rationale for repeated supratherapeutic ingestion. Staggered overdose patients were more likely to be encephalopathic on admission, require renal replacement therapy or mechanical ventilation, and had higher mortality rates compared with single time point overdoses.
The study comes as the Obama administration has sought to decrease the number of emergency room visits by upwards of 20 percent. The new healthcare law could results in nearly 32 million newly insured people visiting emergency rooms already crammed beyond capacity, according to experts on healthcare facilities. President Obama has urged preventative practices in order to lower the rate of emergency rooms visits.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Drugs, overdoses, allergic reactions
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