Most Seniors Are Taking Too Many Prescriptions

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The number of prescriptions taken by seniors doubled from 1988 to 2010, contributing to a higher incidence of functional limitations
  • The use of multiple medications increases the risk of adverse events and drug interactions that lead to permanent damage or death
  • Side effects from one drug often lead to the prescription of another to reduce symptoms, known as a “prescribing cascade”
  • The number of seniors prescribed antidepressants from 1991 to 2011 has more than doubled, while only 14.3% met the DSM-4 criteria for depression; the prevalence of symptoms and disorders has not decreased with more medicine
  • A focus on reducing inflammation and seeking the root causes of health conditions helps lower dependence on drugs that usually come with a significant list of side effects 

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