“And the systems are likely to have these default doses built in.” Poeran said he isn’t suggesting a return to pen-and-paper prescribing, and he noted the study does not prove that these higher doses actually cause falls among older patients. However, the research does suggest that dosages matter and that reducing the default dose for vulnerable patients might be an easy way to lower the risk of falls. Dr. Josh Peterson, an associate professor of medicine and biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said the new findings build on previous research that suggests the default dosing system sometimes needs to be tweaked. click nowSome hospitals do allow doctors to revise the default dose for older patients. But, both Poeran and Peterson said doctors can often be pressed for time and simply use the default dose. “One of the things patients can do is to be sure the provider taking care of them knows what kind of sensitivities they have around sedating drugs,” said Peterson, who wasn’t involved with the study. “The assumption should be that your sensitivity to sedating drugs goes up, not down, when you are hospitalized.” Illness can also affect the way medications are metabolized, Peterson said, so even if patients are taking the same drugs in the hospital as at home, the effects could be different. The study was published Nov. 28 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.