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Drugs. 1999;58 Suppl 2:49-51.

Quinolones in the aged.

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University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Pharmacokinetic studies of fluoroquinolone antibacterials generally demonstrate some quantitative alterations in elderly compared with younger populations. The most common observations are an increased maximal plasma drug concentration and area under the concentration-time curve, which are primarily attributable to the 10 to 15% decrease in lean body mass in the elderly. For quinolones excreted primarily by the renal route, there is a prolongation in elimination half-life correlated with the aging-associated decline in creatinine clearance. Quinolones with major routes of nonrenal clearance will not usually show a prolongation in half-life because of compensatory relative increases in nonrenal mechanisms. Alterations directly attributable to aging alone, however, are minor, and vary between different quinolones. They do not justify a consistent need for dosage alterations on the basis of age alone. Agents with primarily renal excretion, such as ofloxacin or levofloxacin, may require dosage adjustment in the very elderly or the frail elderly, if significant decreases in creatinine clearance are present. No age-related differences in adverse effects of fluoroquinolones have been reported. Studies in both community-dwelling and institutionalised elderly populations have consistently shown quinolones to be as effective as comparative parenteral or oral therapy. While elderly populations may be at greater risk of adverse effects because of comorbidities and concurrent therapies, an increased occurrence of adverse events in elderly populations receiving quinolone antimicrobials relative to younger populations has not been reported.

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