DOCTORS are putting pensioners at risk of serious harm by prescribing too many drugs, a report warns.
Almost two million OAPs are taking seven or more medicines a week — increasing their risk of deadly side effects.
And nearly four million are on at least five drugs, Age UK found. It accused medics of doling out pills in “excessive numbers” and “unsafe combinations” because they are too busy to think of alternatives.
As many as one in five prescriptions for OAPs living at home may be inappropriate, the charity added.
It revealed three-quarters of people over 70 experience an adverse drug reaction every six months.
These can include nausea, dizziness, appetite loss, low mood, muscle loss, falls, delirium and even death.
Age UK also found that the NHS spent £18.2billion on prescription medications in 2017/18 — up 40 per cent on 2010/11.
Elderly patients’ consent had not been sought in some cases while others had not received the support they needed to take their drugs.
Age UK director Caroline Abrahams suggested that pensioners have their drugs reviewed yearly to see if they are still necessary.
She said: “Most older people would agree that the fewer pills they have to pop, the better.
“Everyone’s needs change over time and new treatments are always becoming available, so it is well worth your doctor looking at whether your medicines are still best.”
She added people should never stop taking medication without consulting a doctor.