What Drugs Cause the Most Emergency Hospitalizations for Senior Adults?

An adverse drug event (“ADE”) requiring hospitalization typically occurs when a properly administered drug causes an adverse reaction (such as an allergic reaction), or a patient accidentally overdoses on a drug, or takes the wrong drug.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there were approximately 100,000 emergency hospitalizations for ADE’s in the U.S. affecting adults 65 years of age or older per year from 2007 through 2009.

Interestingly, the study found that two-thirds of ADE’s affecting seniors involved the following four commonly used drugs or drug classes: warfarin, oral antiplatelet medications, insulins, and oral hypoglycemic agents.

In contrast, various high-risk medications were implicated in only 1.2% of hospitalizations.

The message for doctors is that they need to work more closely with patients to manage their intake of blood thinners and diabetes medications.