Quick Hits: Antibiotics Prescribed Too Long, Risky Drugs Prescribed to Seniors & More

Most antibiotics for sinus infections are prescribed for too long, according to a new study. Researchers collected data from the 2016 National Disease and Therapeutic Index and identified 3.7 million patient visits where doctors prescribed medication for sinus infections. After examining the data, researchers discovered that about 70% of medication therapy was prescribed for 10 days or more, which exceeds current guideline recommendations of 5 to 7 days. When analysts excluded prescriptions for Zithromax (azithromycin), they found that 91.5% of antibiotic treatments were prescribed for 10 days or longer. Published March 26, 2018. Via JAMA Internal Medicine.

Older patients are routinely prescribed risky drugs, such as anticholinergics, when safer alternatives are available. Anticholinergic drugs treat various medical conditions such as diarrhea, allergies, dizziness and Parkinson’s disease. Current guidelines recommend that doctors avoid prescribing 35 different anticholinergic drugs to older patients because they can cause serious side effects. Researchers collected data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), which examined 102,806 doctor visits by people aged 65 and older. They primarily focused on the prescription patterns for anticholinergic drugs over the course of 10 years. The study, which is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that 6.2% of patient visits consisted of doctors prescribing anticholinergic medications to older people. Around 70% of risky anticholinergic medications prescribed to older patients included 3 drug classes: antidepressants, antimuscarinics and antihistamines. Published March 26, 2018. Via Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

More-potent opioids are responsible for more serious adverse events (SAEs). Researchers examined the rate of serious adverse events associated with commonly prescribed opioids of different potencies. Researchers analyzed 7 different opioids, including OxyContin (oxycodone), hydrocodone, morphine, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, tapentadol and tramadol. Results from the 7-year study indicated that more than 19,000 SAE cases were identified. Hydrocodone and oxycodone prompted 77% of the SAEs. In regard to potency levels, hydromorphone had the highest SAE rates, while tapentadol had the lowest. Published March 28, 2018. Via Drug Safety.


Alanna M.

Alanna M. is a graduate of Pace University.


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