Senior citizens can be horribly taken advantage of in today’s society. That’s not groundbreaking news. But one industry that often flies under the radar for their nefarious activity towards the elderly community is pharma. Opioids, antidepressants, tranquilizers and antipsychotics are all being excessively prescribed by doctors and the combinations of multiple pills often have serious consequences. Pharma is excessively drugging our seniors, so much so, the elderly are developing brain issues; some are even collapsing and experiencing physical injury.
There is a word for this: Polypharmacy. It’s harming the central nervous systems of the elderly. And the medical community is getting away with it rather easily.
A study published in JAMA showed a steep and terrifying rise in the polypharmacy prescribing methods amongst the elderly.
The study looked at the elderly community between 2004 and 2013. It showed the yearly polypharmacy visits by adults 65 or older increased from 1.5 million to 3.6 million.
“Women and rural patients accounted for 68.1% and 16.6% of CNS polypharmacy visits respectively, compared with 55% and 10.5% of nonpolypharmacy visits (P?<?.001 for both comparisons). While mental health or pain diagnoses were more common among the polypharmacy group, visits without pain, insomnia, or other mental health diagnoses accounted for nearly half (45.9%) of CNS polypharmacy visits.”
What’s happening? Why the drastic increase? From 2004 to 2013, CNS polypharmacy more than doubled.
The elderly are being swooped into the mental health game. In other words, they are becoming more and more subjected to mental health diagnoses, which gives pharma and doctors a path to prescribe a whole new load of meds.
“The rise we saw in these data may reflect the increased willingness of seniors to seek help and accept medication for mental health conditions – but it’s also concerning because of the risks of combining these medications is unknown,” says Donovan Maust, M.D., M.S., the study’s lead author and a geriatric psychiatrist at Michigan Medicine, the U-M academic medical center.
Nearly half of these elderly did not have a formal diagnosis.
The combination of opioid painkillers and benzodiazepine tranquilizers have received strong warnings from the FDA due to risks of death.