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Occam’s Razor and COVID-19 Hospitalization Rates

By JASON Z. ROSE

It’s amazing that the word “medication” is not mentioned in a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The research states that a staggering 90% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 have underlying conditions, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, all of which require drug treatments for patients to remain healthy.

Yet nowhere in the report is there mention of how patients can potentially prevent COVID-19 related health decline through better medication use for their underlying disease.  Are the COVID-19 hospitalization rates truly caused by the underlying disease and insufficient use of preventive measures like social distancing? Or are these underlying conditions unmanaged due to medication optimization issues placing these patients at higher risk for hospitalizations? 

Medication optimization is how the healthcare system supports the patient from the initial prescription to follow up and ongoing review. It aims to improve the safety, effectiveness, and affordable use of prescribed drugs.

The invisible threat enabling the spread of COVID-19 that no one seems to be talking about is that barriers to medication use are accelerating infections for these high-risk populations. Buried within the “People Who Need Extra Precautions” section of its website, the CDC states people with high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are “people of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled”. Clearly, optimizing medications is one of the most important aspects to controlling chronic illness. Optimization supports patients through medication therapy that aims to improve safety, effectiveness, and affordable use of prescribed drugs.

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