Despite the fact that nifedipine increases the risk of heart attacks and death, doctors still prescribe this immediate-release blood pressure drug to elderly patients.
A Cologne-based research group led by Ingrid Schubert has now published the results of their investigation in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International.
Immediate-release nifedipine is classified as a potentially dangerous drug in the PRISCUS list published in 2010. Earlier studies demonstrated that, in comparison to other antihypertensive drugs, nifedipine increases patient risk for mortality and heart attacks.
Ingrid Schubert and colleagues have now examined how frequently this calcium channel blocker is prescribed under everyday conditions.
By analyzing data from 260 672 insured patients, they were able to document for the first time that doctors continue to prescribe immediate-release nifedipine to elderly patients. In 2009, about 1% of the group of elderly patients, who are especially vulnerable to adverse drug reactions, received nifedipine and were therefore exposed to higher risks.