According to a study recently published by the University of British Columbia, doctors are more likely to overprescribe medication for women over the age of 65, as opposed to men of the same age group. While almost one in three elderly women were prescribed potentially inappropriate drugs, only one in four men were prescribed similarly inappropriate drugs. Although researchers found similar results in previous studies, the researchers in this study were able to rule out some of the reasons that might explain the study results, such as the fact that women, on the whole, live longer than men. The new study also included more data than previous studies, which also makes the results more reliable.
One of the reasons for overmedication may be that individuals wanting to take the same drugs in their 70s that they took in their 50s; some drugs are perfectly safe in early adulthood, but become risky when taken later in life. There is also a tendency of doctors to overprescribe sleep aids and benzodiazepines for seniors who simply require less sleep later in life. Additionally, the fact that women metabolize drugs faster than men, as well as the effects of traditional gender roles and social circumstances, may all play a part in doctors’ overprescribing of drugs for more women than men.
Overprescribing medication and other medication errors can have very serious consequences for nursing home and assisted living facility residents, or for any other elderly individual receiving assistance with his or her health care needs. In the most extreme cases, overprescribing medications can be toxic or cause severe side effects that can permanently harm or even kill an individual.
At Boller & Vaughan, we have investigated countless allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect, no matter what type of circumstances they entail, including overmedication, inappropriate restraints, and falls. Allow us to look into the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, discuss your options, and help you determine the most appropriate course of action for you and your family. Contact the Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys of Boller & Vaughan, and learn how we can help.