Individuals are often prescribed increasing numbers of medications as they age, and while many of these prescriptions are justifiable, some may be inappropriate. A recent analysis published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology examined the results of all studies investigating associations between potentially inappropriate prescribing—which includes prescribing medications that may not produce benefits relative to harm and not prescribing medications that are recommended—and outcomes of older adults.
Potentially inappropriate prescribing was significantly associated with a range of health-related and system-related outcomes, including functional decline, falls, and hospital admissions due to drug-related side effects.
“Several decision support tools for quality prescribing are available; however, our analysis highlights that medication-related harm due to inappropriate prescribing remains problematic,” said lead author Alemayehu Mekonnen, Ph.D., of Deakin University, in Australia. “A comprehensive assessment of medication use, especially during care transitions such as at hospital discharge, is an important task to reduce medication-related harm and associated healthcare costs.”