Deaths from drug overdose in 2017 alone exceeded the total number of Americans who died during the entire Vietnam War, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. The majority of those, of course, were opioids.
It’s virtually impossible to report on health today and not cover the opioid epidemic, whether in-depth, occasionally or tangentially. That’s particularly true in areas hit hardest by opioid use and overdoses, such as Appalachia (Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia), Maryland/D.C., and New England (Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts). Continue reading
Experts on aging are sounding the alarm about another U.S. drug crisis: Too many older adults taking too many medications.
This trend is leading to a surge in adverse drug events (ADE) over the past two decades. The rate of emergency department visits by older adults for ADEs doubled between 2006 and 2014 — a problem as serious as the opioid crisis but whose scope appears to remain virtually invisible to families, patients, policymakers and many clinicians, according to a recent report by the Lown Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Brookline, Mass. Continue reading
There is no cure for dementia, a devastating group of diseases that eventually rob people of their memory, personality and quality of life. Only a few drugs are approved in the U.S. for short-term use to treat symptoms such as memory loss and confusion. A recent analysis found that many patients remain on these drugs much longer than recommended, resulting in potential health risks and thousands of dollars in additional costs. Continue reading
How can older adults save money on the high cost of prescription medication? It could be as simple as talking to their doctor or pharmacist — but a new survey finds that many aren’t having that conversation, and therefore not getting the help they need to find lower-cost solutions. Continue reading
The average price of brand-name prescription drugs rose almost 130 times faster than inflation in 2015 — 15.5 percent compared with 0.1 percent. New data points to increasing medication affordability problems for older adults, putting many of them at risk, according to a new report.
Researchers from the AARP Public Policy Institute studied trends in the retail prices of 268 brand name drugs widely used by older Americans between 2006 and 2015. Continue reading
Medications — including many over-the-counter drugs — are among the greatest contributors to accelerated cognitive decline in older adults, according to experts at the recent Gerontological Society of America conference in Orlando, Fla. Yet, they are probably the most frequent reversible contributor to adverse cognitive events. Continue reading