Items in AFP with MESH term: Drug Utilization
ABSTRACT: Older Americans comprise 13 percent of the population, but they consume an average of 30 percent of all prescription drugs. Every day, physicians are faced with issues surrounding appropriate prescribing to older patients. Polypharmacy, use of supplements, adherence issues, and the potential for adverse drug events all pose challenges to effective prescribing. Knowledge of the interplay between aging physiology, chronic diseases, and drugs will help the physician avoid potential adverse drug events as well as drug-drug and drug-disease interactions. Evidence is now available showing that older patients may be underprescribed useful drugs, including aspirin for secondary prevention in high-risk patients, beta blockers following myocardial infarction, and warfarin for nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. There is also evidence that many older adults receive medications that could potentially cause more harm than good. Finding the right balance between too few and too many drugs will help ensure increased longevity, improved overall health, and enhanced functioning and quality of life for the aging population.
Off-Label Applications for SSRIs - Article
ABSTRACT: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely used because of their safety, tolerability, and demonstrated efficacy across a broad range of clinical conditions. Medical literature supports the use of SSRIs for the treatment of many conditions outside of the indications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. SSRIs offer a reasonable alternative to traditional therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. A side effect of SSRIs coincidentally provides therapy for premature ejaculation. SSRIs may reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches and are possibly effective in reducing the pain of diabetic neuropathy. When taken in combination with tricyclic antidepressants, SSRis offer more potent therapy for fibromyalgia than either agent alone. SSRIs appear to be effective in some patients with neurocardiogenic syncope that is refractory to standard therapies. Clinical experience supported by ongoing research continues to expand on the broad array of therapeutic applications for this class of medication.
ABSTRACT: Adverse drug events are common in older patients, particularly in those taking at least five medications, but such events are predictable and often preventable. A rational approach to prescribing in older adults integrates physiologic changes of aging with knowledge of pharmacology. Focusing on specific outcomes, such as the prompt recognition of adverse drug events, allows the family physician to approach prescribing cautiously and confidently. Physicians need to find ways to streamline the medical regimen, such as periodically reviewing all medications in relation to the Beers criteria and avoiding new prescriptions to counteract adverse drug reactions. The incorporation of computerized alerts and a multidisciplinary approach can reduce adverse drug events.
Prescribing for Older Adults: Finding the Balance - Editorials
ABSTRACT: Antibiotic resistance was once confined primarily to hospitals but is becoming increasingly prevalent in family practice settings, making daily therapeutic decisions more challenging. Recent reports of pediatric deaths and illnesses in communities in the United States have raised concerns about the implications and future of antibiotic resistance. Because 20 percent to 50 percent of antibiotic prescriptions in community settings are believed to be unnecessary, primary care physicians must adjust their prescribing behaviors to ensure that the crisis does not worsen. Clinicians should not accommodate patient demands for unnecessary antibiotics and should take steps to educate patients about the prudent use of these drugs. Prescriptions for targeted-spectrum antibiotics, when appropriate, can help preserve the normal susceptible flora. Antimicrobials intended for the treatment of bacterial infections should not be used to manage viral illnesses. Local resistance trends may be used to guide prescribing decisions.
Should We Prescribe Antibiotics for Acute Bronchitis? - Cochrane for Clinicians
Off-label Use of Prescription Drugs - Editorials
Redefining Appropriate Use of Antibiotics - Editorials
When Patients Cannot Afford Their Medications - Curbside Consultation