More Than One-Third of Geriatric Drug Errors May Be Preventable

ATLANTA (Reuters Health) Mar 25 – Approximately one-third of medication errors affecting elderly patients are preventable, researchers told attendees of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics here Sunday. More computerized alert systems may reduce these errors, Massachusetts researchers said.
Dr. Jerry Gurwitz of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, said that "the elderly are an especially vulnerable population because they are on so many more medications than are younger patients." Dr. Gurwitz cited results of a study of 27,526 HMO enrollees over the age of 65 that showed that about one in five elderly persons take five or more medications.

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