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The New Jersey Life Sciences Vendors Alliance (NJLSVA) is a coalition of businesses, individuals and academia who provide goods and services to New Jersey’s life sciences companies.

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New Study: Older Americans Taking More Medications and Supplements

Senior at Pharmacy 2New York, NY, March 24, 2016 ― Reuters’ Andrew M. Seaman reports that the proportion of older Americans taking at least five medications or supplements went up in a recent study.

The increase in people using multiple medications — known as polypharmacy — paralleled an increase in the number of older Americans at risk for major drug interactions, researchers found.

“That’s a concern from a public health standpoint, because it’s getting worse,” said Dima Qato, the study’s lead author from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Qato and her colleagues previously reported that polypharmacy is common among older Americans.  More than half were taking prescription and nonprescription medications between 2005 and 2006.

There have been a lot of changes in U.S. regulations and the pharmacy market since that time, however.

Some of those changes include new and less expensive generic drugs and the implementation of Medicare Part D, which is the prescription component of the government-run health insurance program for the elderly or disabled.

To evaluate the change in polypharmacy over time, the researchers compared the 2005-2006 results to data collected from 2010-2011.

Participants in the study were between the ages of 62 and 85 and were living at home.  The researchers interviewed 2,351 people in 2005-2006 and 2,206 in 2010-2011.

Overall, about 67 percent were taking five or more medications or supplements in 2010-2011, up from about 53 percent in 2005-2006.

For Seaman’s full story, click here.