Author sees need for more drug safety info for elderly

Writing a guest blog item for Scientific American, AHCJ member Laura Newman profiled the case of her mother to argue that health regulators and Congress should “back drug safety initiatives in the elderly,” noting that “people over age 75 are under-represented in clinical trials, leaving physicians in the dark as to safety.”

The particular case involved an often-prescribed drug to treat high cholesterol:

Even as my mother was in crisis, doctors told me that they were astounded that such a high-dose statin was given to a low-risk, frail, elderly women. By low-risk, she had no history of cardiovascular disease and she met the widely used and time-tested Framingham Risk Factor criteria. She did not smoke, had low-level, well-controlled hypertension, but a high cholesterol. I sensed deterioration months before she was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis.

Her mother died within eight weeks after doctors diagnosed her with rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition, and acute kidney failure.

Leave a Reply