electronic prescribing
Medical Care

Electronic Prescribing of High-Risk Meds May Contribute to Falls in Elderly

Certain medications are considered high risk in elders. In a recent study of 287 people 65 years and older who experienced a fall while hospitalized at an urban academic hospital, 62 percent of falls occurred in patients for whom high risk medications had been administered within the 24 hours before the fall, according to a study published in November 2016 in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

High risk medications were often administered at higher than recommended geriatric daily doses, in particular benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-receptor agonists, for which the dose was higher than recommended in 57 percent of cases. The hospital’s electronic medical record default doses for electronic prescribing were higher than recommended for 41 percent of medications that were examined.

A release from the publisher quotes Dr. Rosanne Leipzig, senior clinician-author of the study, a saying “Before the widespread use of electronic prescribing, physicians had to consciously determine the appropriate drug dosage for an individual. This study highlights that with electronic prescribing, default doses do matter and lowering defaults for vulnerable patient groups such as elderly patients may be an easy way to reduce inappropriate use of high risk drugs for these patients.”