Prescription Medications

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PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS AND THE ELDERLY 1 An Assessment of Prescription Medications and the Elderly Kendrea Pressnell Life Span Psychology PSYC 2130 Bryan K. Thomas, M.A. June 16, 2014 PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS AND THE ELDERLY 2 Abstract Advances in modern medicine and development of new medications have aided physicians in treating illness and disease among aging adults. The number of elderly individuals addicted to prescription drugs is increasing. Another issue is overmedicating. Researchers and physicians are working together to eliminate the various risks and side effects related to this issue. Also, there…show more content…
It is estimated that approximately twenty five percent of the geriatric population consumes ten to fourteen separate medications daily. This can lead to other problems, risks and side effects such as, drug abuse, substance abuse, depression, dementia, and possibly, death. Typically people believe drug and substance abuse to be a problem primarily among young adults, but it is also a very real problem within the elderly population. Overmedicating is the primary issue that leads to late adulthood drug abuse. Moreover, physicians tend to treat their patients for a specific condition without considering that their patient has probably been prescribed medications for other illnesses by other physicians. This results in a common situation among the elderly referred to as polypharmacy; one patient, taking several prescription medications combined with over-the-counter drugs or home remedies. PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS AND THE ELDERLY 4 Professor Kathleen Stassen Berger states…show more content…
As stated in a publication issued by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The abuse of prescription pain medications is increasing among adult Americans as well. Among young adults aged 18 to 25, the rate increased from 22.1 percent in 2002 to 23.7 percent in 2003, NSDUH data show. Abuse of oxycodone increased among all age groups from 2002 to 2003: by more than 10 percent among Americans aged 12 to 17, by nearly 40 percent among 18- to 25-year-olds, and by 60 percent for Americans aged 26 or older” (Volkow, 2005). The NIDA is responding to the rise in prescription drug abuse in numerous areas, one of which is geriatrics. The NIDA also reported, “Age-related changes may influence the way in which their bodies metabolize and respond to prescription drugs. Older adults are more likely to have undiagnosed psychiatric and medical illness. They also are more likely to be taking several medications in complex drug regimens, increasing the risk of drug interactions or errors in dosing. Any of these circumstances may contribute to development of unwanted dependence or even addiction to prescribed medications” (Volkow,

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