Saturday, April 27, 2013

Presciption of Risky Drugs Highest in South

My opinion: I think the patterns listed in this article may be used to discover other patterns across America, such as the prescription of risky drugs to younger individuals.  But to infer on those other patterns, it might be best to understand that causes of this one.  For example, if the patients receiving these drugs are poor, then perhaps they cannot afford the safer alternative, which may be more expensive.  The article also mentions that the doctors prescribing these drugs may be used to outdated ones.  I know that older doctors prescribe different drugs (especially more name brands) than their younger counterparts.  And finally, could there be a lack of medical understanding and/or access to healthcare, and why?  Perhaps more medical conventions should be held down south, and older doctors could be integrated into such conventions and other groups to build upon their education.  Can anyone think of other reasons?  Feel free to comment.


Seniors In The South Are More Apt To Be Prescribed Risky Drugs

Seniors in the Southeast were much more likely to be prescribed more than one high-risk medications in 2009.
Seniors in the Southeast were much more likely to be prescribed more than one high-risk medications in 2009.
Danya Qato and Amal Trivedi/Alpert Medical School, Brown University
Health care types have spent years trying to make the point that seniors are being prescribed medications that are unnecessary and dangerous. But the message hasn't really sunk in.
More than 20 percent of people with coverage are taking at least one high-risk medication, a new study finds.
People in the Southeast are especially vulnerable, the data show. In many parts of the South, more than one-third of seniors are taking drugs that they should avoid or sub out for something safer. Ten percent are taking two or more.
"Geography really stands out," says , an associate professor of health services policy and practice at Brown University's Alpert Medical School. He's a co-author of the , which was published in the April Journal of General Internal Medicine.
More than 38 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees in Albany, Ga., got at least one risky drug, compared with 10 percent in Mason City, Iowa, the area with the lowest rate. The people prescribed risky drugs were more likely to be poor, white and female.
Why are Southerners more likely to be given risky meds? It could be that patients are asking for them, Trivedi says. Or it could be that doctors there are more apt to stick with old prescribing habits. But whatever the reason, he says, it's a marker for poor-quality health care.
The risky drugs include obvious culprits like amphetamines, barbiturates, muscle relaxants and narcotics. Then there are old-style sedating antihistamines, and medications for depression and anxiety, such as long-acting diazepam, or Valium, which can cause apnea and cardiac arrest. Many of the drugs increase the risk of falls.


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