Aging & Geriatrics
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Older Adults Turning to Pot for Common Health ProblemsStaying Social Can Boost Healthy 'Gray Matter' in Aging BrainsIs Apathy an Early Sign of Dementia?Many Older Americans With Heart Failure Take 10 or More MedsShall You Dance? Study Finds Dancing Helps Seniors Avoid FallsStudy Sheds Light on Why COVID-19 Hits Elderly HardestEarly Results Show Moderna's COVID Vaccine Safe, Effective in Older PeopleLockdown Could Worsen Hearing Woes for U.S. SeniorsOlder Patients at Risk When Dentists Prescribe OpioidsFall Risk Rises Even in Alzheimer's Early StagesMiddle-Aged Americans Report More Pain Than SeniorsPoll Finds Pandemic Surge in Loneliness Among Older AdultsIsolation, Loneliness of Lockdowns Is Tough on America's SeniorsTeens, Seniors Are Often Driving the Least Safe CarsCommon Meds Tied to Faster Mental Decline in SeniorsSeniors With Depression Show Resilience in Face of PandemicAre Opioids Prescribed Too Freely as Patients Are Moved to Nursing Homes?Telehealth Skyrocketing Among Older AdultsWhy Are Dementia Patients Getting Risky Psychiatric Drugs?Education Benefits the Brain Over a LifetimeCould Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Hasten Cancer in Seniors?Can Seniors Handle Results of Alzheimer's Risk Tests?Telemedicine Is Here: Experts Offer Tips for SeniorsAre Baby Boomers Less Sharp Than Previous Generations?Many Older Adults Can't Connect With Telehealth: StudyMany Older Americans Getting Cancer Screens They Don't Need: StudyMore Education May Slow Start of Early-Onset Alzheimer'sMany Older Americans Staying Strong in the PandemicRepeat Bone Density Tests Might Not Be Needed, Study FindsLess Smoking, Drinking Means Fewer Hip Fractures for AmericansWant to Protect Your Eyes as You Age? Stay Away From CarbsGlaucoma Checkups Fall by the Wayside During PandemicWhat Puts You at High Risk of Midlife Mental Decline?Will Your Brain Stay Sharp Into Your 90s? Certain Factors Are KeyCheck Early and Often for GlaucomaMany Older Americans Face Ageism Every Day, Survey FindsMany Americans With Dementia Live in Homes With GunsAs People Age, They Share Fewer Memories With Others: StudyU.S. Air Pollution Still at Deadly Levels, Study Finds75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your HeartMuscle Relaxants for Back Pain Are Soaring: Are They Safe?Middle-Age Obesity Linked to Higher Odds for DementiaAmid Pandemic, Fears That Older Americans Are Feeling 'Expendable'What Behaviors Will Shorten Your Life?5 Healthy Steps to Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sWant Added Years? Try VolunteeringExercise Habits Key to Gauging Seniors' LongevityGet Moving, Seniors: It's Good For Your BrainMillions of Older Americans Can't Get Enough FoodCan Fruits, Tea Help Fend Off Alzheimer's Disease?
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Elder Care

Many Older Americans With Heart Failure Take 10 or More Meds

HealthDay News
by By Cara Roberts MurezHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 13th 2020

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Oct. 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- When older people hospitalized for heart failure are sent home, they are often given a whopping 10 medications to take for a variety of conditions. But is this "polypharmacy" practice necessary, or does it just place a bigger burden on already frail patients?

It's not a question so much of the quantity of the medications, but whether the medications patients are taking are the right ones for them, said senior study author Dr. Parag Goyal, a geriatric cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City.

"It's not just that we're not starting the right medications, there may be situations where we're not stopping the wrong medications as well," Goyal said. "I think we need to look at the medication that older adults with heart failure take in a more holistic fashion."

For the study, Goyal's team examined the medical charts of 558 adults aged 65 and older who were hospitalized in the United States between 2003 and 2014.

When admitted, 84% of the patients were taking five or more medications and 42% were taking 10 or more. When discharged, those numbers had risen to 95% of patients prescribed five or more medications and 55% taking 10 or more. Most of the prescribed medicines were not for the patients' heart failure or heart conditions, the researchers said.

A larger medication burden increases the risk of adverse drug reactions, which could lead to patients ending up in the hospital, Goyal explained. It can also require more work for the patient, which can have an impact on quality of life.

"It's a big challenge," Goyal said. "How exactly do you reconcile the fact that a lot of these medications are meant to prevent events and to help patients feel better with the concept that as the number of medications rise, you might be negatively affecting these parameters?"

The study found that about 90% of older adults with heart failure have at least three other medical conditions. More than 60% have at least five other conditions.

The findings were published online Oct. 13 in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

The researchers concluded that there is a need to develop strategies that can alleviate the negative effects of polypharmacy. Among the drugs that may be overused are proton-pump inhibitors, which reduce stomach acid. There are a host of medications patients may have been taking for years that could be reviewed, Goyal noted.

However, the study suggested that the benefits of medication may outweigh the risks of polypharmacy for people with certain conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes.

Some medications already are multipurpose, including one that treats diabetes and heart failure, said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, chief of the University of California, Los Angeles, division of cardiology.

"That doesn't mean there are not some medications that are not necessary and could be either reduced or consolidated, but that for patients with heart failure that have a number of other comorbid conditions there are a number of medications that are proven in randomized trials, proven in clinical effectiveness studies -- including in patients above age 65 -- to where the greater the number of medications patients are on, the better the clinical outcomes," Fonarow added.

Among the conditions that are common in heart failure patients are diabetes, COPD and atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat), said Fonarow, who was not involved with the new study.

"These patients have many other comorbid conditions that if left untreated would leave them at risk for complications," he added.

The American Heart Association defines heart failure as "a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs for blood and oxygen."

About 6 million Americans have heart failure. It's one of the most common reasons that individuals aged 65 and older are hospitalized, Fonarow said, and it has a high mortality rate.

Goyal noted that a patient's doctors -- from primary care physicians to specialists -- should make time to review the patient's medications to determine if they're all still needed.

Goyal said he will be developing a shared decision-making approach for optimizing medications in older adults with heart failure, a five-year project recently funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"I think it's important to reconsider and review medications on a regular basis to ensure that a medication that was previously prescribed is still the right medication," Goyal said.

More information

Visit the American Heart Association for more on heart failure.




Facebook

Amazon Smile

 

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net