New research from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that seniors are more prone to be hospitalized because of their blood thinners or insulin shots than they are to be harmed by more risky medications like painkillers.

CDC doctors recently discovered that four common drugs—blood thinners, insulin, antiplatelet drugs, and oral diabetes medications—were responsible for 67% of drug-related hospitalizations among people aged 65 and older.

By contrast, only 8% of drug-related hospitalizations were found to have been caused by drugs in the "high-risk" category.

And therein lies the problem—risky drugs are not given to seniors nearly as often as blood thinners and insulin. Diabetes and heart disease reign supreme as two of the biggest health problems for elderly people, and many seniors need medication to manage them.

Also, older people generally take more prescription drugs, increasing their risk for overdose and adverse reaction. According to the CDC, people 65 and older have double the risk of having to go to the emergency room because of reactions to drugs.

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The study authors state that better prescription management is the key to reducing the number of drug-related hospitalizations. The CDC offers a few tips to help the elderly handle their medications more effectively:

  • Maintain an up to date list of all your medications and dosages
  • Use medications as prescribed and directed by your doctor
  • If you are confused about a medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist
  • Be vigilant with prescribed blood tests