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Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2003 Sep;1(1):38-43.

Update on drug-related problems in the elderly.

Author information

1
Institute for the Study of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy, Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. hanlo004@tc.umn.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although pharmacotherapy for the elderly can treat diseases and improve well-being, its benefits can be compromised by drug-related problems.

OBJECTIVE:

This article reviews recent publications concerning drug-related problems in the elderly, as well as articles describing the development of 3 sets of quality indicators for medication use in the elderly.

METHODS:

Relevant articles were identified through a search of MEDLINE (2002-March 2003) for articles on drug-related problems, inappropriate prescribing, and adverse drug events in the elderly.

RESULTS:

The review included 7 articles published in 2002 and 2003. A study in ambulatory elderly persons reported that approximately 5.0% of patients had > or =1 adverse drug event within the previous year. Another study found that approximately 20.0% of ambulatory elderly persons used > or =1 inappropriate drug, as defined by drug utilization review (DUR) criteria, with drug-disease interactions and duration of use being the most common drug-related problems. A third study involving elderly individuals in assisted living facilities found that 16.0% used > or =1 inappropriate drug, as defined by the Beers criteria. Another study examined whether inappropriate drug use, as defined by the Beers or DUR criteria, was associated with death or a decline in functional status; it found that only use of drugs defined as inappropriate by DUR criteria (particularly those drugs associated with drug-drug or drug-disease interactions) was associated with a decline in the ability to perform basic self-care. Three studies, 1 from the United States, 1 from the United Kingdom, and 1 from Canada, described consensus development of quality indicators for drug use in the elderly, including drugs to avoid, maximum daily dose, drug duplication, limits on duration of use, drug-drug and drug-disease interactions, need for drug monitoring, underuse of necessary drugs to treat or prevent common problems, and inappropriate drug-administration technique.

CONCLUSIONS:

Drug-related problems are common in elderly patients. Data from recently published studies provide guidance to practitioners and directions for future research.

PMID:
15555464
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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