Wrong drugs?

Medicines Causing Casualty Visits?

Only half as many elderly patients would be rushing to hospital emergency rooms if they only had a pharmacist to help them check which medicines they are taking. This is the result of a study made at Uppsala University.

400 patients over the age of 80, who visited the hospital in Uppsala, took part in the study. Half of them were treated as usual, the other half were seen by a pharmacist during their stay at the hospital. A year after the initial hospital visit, just under half of the patients seen by the pharmacist had returned to the hospital emergency, compared to 93 per cent of the patients who had been treated as usual.

People over 80 years old take on average six different medicines. These are often necessary, but can increase the risk of side effects. According to TT, just under a third of all patients taken into hospital are there because they were given the wrong medicine.