Adverse reactions to medications account for an alarming 1.1 million emergency room visits by older adults each year, according to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Nearly 8 in 10 of the hospital visits by older patients involved adverse reactions to just one medication they had taken. Central nervous system drugs such as narcotic and non-narcotic pain relievers accounted for the largest share of these visits (24.3%).
The study showed 32.9% of these visits 50 resulted in hospitalizations for further treatment.
“Individuals taking medications need to take personal responsibility and not assume that just because the medications are legally prescribed that they are without risk,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.
SAMHSA – March 10, 2011.