Study Finds Seniors Prescribed Longer Courses of Drugs than Necessary


A Canadian study has found that seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be prescribed unnecessarily long courses of prescription drugs such as antibiotics for infections.

The researchers at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center found that seniors in long-term care facilities are often prescribed courses of drugs that last ten days or more. According to the study, the unnecessary consumption of medicine can lead to secondary infections or drug immunity. The researchers said that a week-long course of medicine is sufficient for most common infections such as pneumonia.

The study examined nearly 67,000 nursing home residents in 630 different Canadian facilities in 2010. Three-quarters of the seniors they examined were prescribed with one or more courses of antibiotics during 2010. Forty-five percent of the prescriptions were for longer than one week. According to the researchers, unnecessarily prolonged courses of drugs may harm the bodies of older people.

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