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Fears for elderly Australians unintentionally overdosing

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‘Polypharmacy’ is on the rise, with over a million senior Australians taking prescription medications.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Chief Clinical Officer Dr Melanie Wroth told Deborah Knight multiple medication is very common, and can be risky.

She says in many cases dosages can be lowered, swapped to a more appropriate medication, or are no longer necessary at all.

“Some people do know very well that they’ve got the right combination … and what the side effects are.

“But there are many, many who don’t know all those things, and that’s particularly so in elderly people who have some degree of cognitive impairment.

“Given the magnitude … and the impact of the problem, it really is something we’re looking very closely at.”

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