Demographic Characteristics of Elderly Drug Overdose Patients Admitted to a Hospital Emergency Department

Paul Schernitski, J. Lyle Bootman, James Byers, Keith Likes, John H. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study was undertaken to identify the demographic characteristics of patients aged 55 or older in a drug‐overdose group admitted to the Emergency Department of Arizona Health Sciences Center during the 3‐year period, August 1975‐July 1978. Of the 646 overdose patients observed, 60 (9.5 percent) were aged 55 or older; of these, 77 percent were women—a significantly higher proportion than in the rest of the overdose group. The majority of the overdose incidents were unintentional, and most patients required hospitalization. For the elderly, the drugs involved in the overdoses did not differ significantly from those ingested by others in the overdose group. Concurrent traumatic injury occurred more often in the older age group, necessitating a longer hospital stay and higher health care costs. Drug overdosage is a significant problem in the elderly population. Since many overdoses are unintentional, elderly persons in particular require the counsel of physicians and pharmacists in the medication process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-546
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume28
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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