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International congress features WCRI research

November 6, 2017

By Lindsay Jolivet

Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) research on optimizing drug prescriptions for older adults was on the world stage at the Congress of the International Society for Gender Medicine in Sendai, Japan this fall.

Dr. Paula Rochon
Dr. Paula Rochon

Dr. Paula Rochon, vice-president of research at Women’s College Hospital, was invited to present at the conference from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16, 2017. About 250 experts from 18 countries around the world attended. The theme was “Trends in Gender Medicine: Super-aging Society and Globalization.”

Dr. Rochon led a panel during one of the breakout sessions about the world’s aging population and the development of medical technologies. She presented a review of technologies to reduce adverse events that could prevent prescribing cascades, which occur when an adverse drug event is mistaken for a new medical condition and treated with a new medication.

For example, there are clinical decision support tools such as alerts that warn doctors when they order a medication that could trigger an adverse event. In addition, electronic health records can help clinicians review medications all in one place.

Increasingly, social media serves as a tool for patients to share their medical experiences. Some studies have examined the potential of social media to identify or prevent adverse events; for example, by analyzing someone’s tweets for signs of a prescribing cascade.

“New technologies can help us keep track of a patient’s medication over time and avoid prescribing new medications unnecessarily,” Dr. Rochon says. “However, we need to make sure we have evidence to tailor our prescribing practices for women and men, and especially for older adults.”

Dr. Rochon is also a founding member of a group of international experts called Matera Alliance, which met during the congress in Japan to advance its goal of making drug trials more applicable to women by ensuring that sex, age, and genetics are taken into account.

“Drug trial outcomes virtually never report outcomes for women and men separately. The Matera Alliance is working hard to change that, making research more relevant to women and men around the world,” Dr. Rochon says.


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