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Published on 23 December 2009

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Octogenarians are “over-drugged”

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Octogenarian patients with high blood pressure are given too many large doses of too many drugs which may harm them, scientists have claimed.

Doctors can set lower targets for the “oldest olds”, or patients over 80, which makes better clinical and economic sense, Cochrane researchers told bmj.com.

The “oldest olds” are the fastest growing sector of the world’s population, ,according to experts, and the number of 85-year-olds in Britain is estimated to increase by a third by 2020.

The British Medical Journal said more than 50% of these octogenarians will need medication for high blood pressure – a condition doctors claim is under-treated in the UK.

According to UK and US guidelines, patients in this age group need the same treatment as any other, by combining drugs to reach a target blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg.

Dr James Wright, who led the research, said he had changed his technique and moved towards a more conservative target for patients in their 80s. He urged other clinicians to do the same.

Cochrane Centre

 



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