Fifty percent of older Australian are taking too many medications that are harmful or unnecessary, according to a new report.
The report, Quality Use of Medicines to Optimise Ageing in Older Australians, says use of too many medicines has serious side effects, including falls, confusion, loss of independence, extra hospital admissions and deaths.
The findings have resulted in the establishment of a national plan, which aims to halve the use of unnecessary medications in older Australians around the country, improving their long-term quality of life.
The report was published by the University of Sydney’s Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre, in collaboration with the Australian Deprescribing Network and NPS MedicineWise.
NPS MedicineWise CEO Steve Morris said with two out of three Australians over 75 taking five or more medicines, and approximately half of all older adults taking a medicine that is harmful or unnecessary, this report is an important step toward improving health in older people.
“Not using medicines wisely has an impact on the individual but also a big impact on the healthcare system and society as a whole,” said Mr Morris.
“All parts of the healthcare system need to work together to help improve the balance of benefit versus risk to older people who are taking medicines.”