In 2008 patients 65 years and older represented 40% of hospitalized adults and nearly half of all healthcare costs. However, people age 65 and over only comprise less than 13% of the population of the United States. Since the elderly population is projected to be 30% of our population by 2030, we can expect a significant increase in these hospitalizations and healthcare costs. Strategies to prevent hospitalizations will decrease mortality rates and also lower healthcare costs substantially.
The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study that compiled adverse event data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project (2007 through 2009). Adverse events were defined as undesired harmful effects resulting from medication. They estimated the frequency and rates of hospitalization after emergency department visits for adverse drug events in older adults and assessed the contribution of specific medications, including those identified as high-risk or potentially inappropriate by national quality measures. The primary outcome measure was hospitalization after an emergency department visit for an adverse event due to medications.
The results of the study showed that the top five medications or medication classes that caused adverse events leading to an ER visit and further hospitalization in the elderly population were:
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