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Medication Abuse, Elderly


Medication abuse occurs when patients do not take medication in the prescribed manner, when they use other people's medication, or when they combine prescribed medication with over-the counter, traditional, or herbal medicines. Such medication misuse among the elderly is responsible for one out of every ten dollars spent in the health care systems of North America. Medication use increases with age, and incidence of drug-related illness is higher in the elderly than in the general population. The public health importance of medication abuse is due to the progression and negative outcome of disease, loss of productivity, and diminished quality of life that often results from such abuse. There are also economic consequences due to increased treatment in ambulatory settings and more frequent hospital and nursing home admissions.

Patrick McGowan

(see also: Geriatrics; Gerontology; Medicare )

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