Your Next Trip To The
Emergency Room May Kill You
If you’re over 65 a trip to the emergency room may actually kill you.
A shocking new study reveals that seniors are likely to receive one or more inappropriate medications when they visit an emergency room. This, despite the fact that the risks of certain medications for those over 65 are well known and documented.
Between 2000 and 2006 alone, an estimated 19.5 million older patients received inappropriate meds in the ER. The issue is so common that it’s gotten its own catchy nickname “PIM” for potentially inappropriate medication.
The fact is some medications are simply not suitable for older patients. Many are ineffective and others pose an unnecessarily high risk.
Pain relievers and antihistamines top the list of poorly prescribed meds for seniors. The five most common are: promethazine, ketorolac, propoxyphene, meperidine, and diphenhydramine.
So how do you protect yourself or your loved ones?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any medications you are being given in the emergency room. This is a rare case when older docs are more likely to prescribe the wrong meds than the younger interns or residents who have had more recent training. So don’t be intimidated by a mature, seemingly more experienced, doctor.
If you’re given a prescription to take home with you check it against the list of Potentially Inappropriate Medications for the Elderly. Better yet print out the page and keep it with you in your wallet so you can check any medications that are given on the spot.
Be sure to make a follow up appointment with your own doctor as soon as possible. You can discuss any medications you were given and you can talk over any meds that were so prescribed to you.
You can’t plan for a trip to the emergency room. But you can plan to protect yourself, or a loved one, if either of you should happen to end up there.
An enthusiastic believer in the power of natural healing, Alice Wessendorf has spent virtually her entire 15-year career in the natural-health publishing field helping to spread the word.
April 27, 2010