The article, "Inappropriate Prescribing for Elderly Americans in a Large Outpatient Population," by Curtis et al,1 bespeaks a significant failure in the American health care system. Using a 1999 claims database of over three quarters of a million elderly subjects from a national pharmaceutical benefit manager, they report that 21% of this population filled a prescription for a drug deemed to be potentially inappropriate for this age group by an expert panel. Although the drugs included on such a list may vary depending on the views of the members of the panel, if even half that number of elderly subjects are taking potentially inappropriate medications, 1 in 10 of all older persons is receiving a drug that is potentially not appropriate. Similar studies date back at least 10 years with similar results, and little or nothing has been done to address the problem.2,3
Steel K. The Time to Act Is Now. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(15):1603–1604. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.15.1603
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