“It is the elderly who are most at risk of so-called polypharmacy - where a patient is taking multiple drugs.
“The problem with polypharmacy is that the more drugs you take, the more likely you are to experience side-effects that are then misinterpreted by a doctor or nurse as a symptom of disease that needs treating with additional medicine.
“I have lost count of the number of over-medicated elderly patients I have treated, with sometimes three or four blood pressure medications making them dizzy and fall over.
“It’s a vicious cycle and one that costs lives each year.
“The elderly are particularly vulnerable to polypharmacy with one in three hospital admissions in the over 75s the result of an adverse drug reaction.
“Many of these patients will fall and suffer a hip fracture because of medication side effects and a quarter of these will die as a result,” writes Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a London-based cardiologist, in a recent article in The Daily Mail.
Dr. Malhotra is one of six doctors warning about the influence of drug companies on the prescribing of drugs.
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