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Retired are poisoned by medication because the elderly are excluded from clinical trials, warned Sir Munir Pirmohamed (stock image)

Retirees are being poisoned & # 39; by strong medication because clinical trials use youngsters as guinea pigs, warns the NHS boss

  • Older patients can be prescribed between ten and 20 types of medication at the same time
  • This leads to the risk of side effects when medicines interact
  • 6.5 percent of patients in hospitals were admitted due to drug reactions
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Retired people are being poisoned by medication because the elderly are being excluded from clinical trials, a NHS chief warned yesterday.

Sir Munir Pirmohamed said that older patients often cannot handle strong pills and yet can receive between ten and 20 different types of medication at the same time. He said this led to the risk of side effects when medicines interact.

"Most drugs have been tested on younger people and tested on people without multiple diseases," he told a House of Lords committee. "When we use a drug at a dose that has been licensed, we often poison the elderly because of the doses that we use.

"This is largely because as you age, your kidney function decreases and you also have interactions with medication.

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Retired are poisoned by medication because the elderly are excluded from clinical trials, warned Sir Munir Pirmohamed (stock image)

Retired are poisoned by medication because the elderly are excluded from clinical trials, warned Sir Munir Pirmohamed (stock image)

& # 39; Most of the patients I see now use ten, 15, 20 drugs, which means that you get interactions with three, four, five ways. Drug reactions are therefore common in this group and are often not picked up in clinical care.

"It is very easy to prescribe medication, but it is very difficult to stop drugs. When someone uses 15 medicines, it is very difficult to decide which one should be stopped. & # 39;

Sir Munir said that 6.5 percent of patients were admitted to hospitals for drug reactions, which cost the NHS £ 1.6 billion.

The academic is a non-executive director for NHS England and professor of molecular and clinical pharmacology at the University of Liverpool.

Older patients are often unable to handle strong pills, but can be prescribed between ten and 20 different types of medication at the same time (stock image)

Older patients are often unable to handle strong pills, but can be prescribed between ten and 20 different types of medication at the same time (stock image)

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Older patients are often unable to handle strong pills, but can be prescribed between ten and 20 different types of medication at the same time (stock image)

Professor Miles Witham, of the National Institute for Health Research, called for a regulatory change to ensure that pharmaceutical companies include older people and people who use different drugs in their trials.

He said the elderly were neglected because they could "spoil beautiful clean trials."

He added: "In the real world, people with heart failure have a common age of 85, but in clinical studies the average age is 65 and that gap is extremely common no matter what disease you look at. In many cases, the evidence we get from clinical trials is actually not suitable. & # 39;

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