There are many things it is important for doctors to avoid when it comes to medications. One is over-prescribing medications to patients. Patients being prescribed more drugs or more of a drug than they need could, in some circumstances, lead to harmful side effects. Being exposed to such harms can have major impacts on a patient’s life.
A recent study raises questions as to whether over-prescription of blood pressure medications is common at hospitals.
The study looked at data regarding around 15,000 individuals 65 and over who received care at VA hospitals. These individuals all had high blood pressure. Their hospitalizations related to three conditions that generally do not necessitate strict control of blood pressure: pneumonia, venous thromboembolism and urinary tract infections.
The researchers looked into how many of these patients were discharged from the hospital with intensified blood pressure therapy. They found that 14 percent were. Of those patients, over half had their blood pressure well-controlled prior to their hospitalization. The rate of intensified blood pressure treatment was similar between patients with circumstances in which strict blood pressure control is likely to have benefits and those with circumstances in which such benefits are less likely.
This raises questions as to whether some of these patients were given more aggressive blood pressure treatment than was needed. Among the things intense blood pressure treatment can expose older individuals to are dizziness and fall risks.
One thing the study’s lead author pointed as potentially being behind patients being discharged with overly aggressive blood pressure treatment is a lack of guidelines for managing inpatient blood pressures.
While the study just looked at treatment practices at VA hospitals, its findings could still potentially reflect what is happening at other hospitals, as VA hospitals are major training areas for doctors.
When individuals are harmed because they were over-prescribed medications, medical malpractice claims might be an option. There can be many complexities to pursuing such claims. Skilled attorneys can guidance victims of medication-related negligence through the process.