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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Dec;63(12):e1-e7. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13701. Epub 2015 Oct 8.

How to Use the American Geriatrics Society 2015 Beers Criteria-A Guide for Patients, Clinicians, Health Systems, and Payors.

Author information

1
Division of Geriatrics, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
2
San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California.
3
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, St. John's University, Queens, New York.
4
Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts.
5
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts.
6
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts.
7
Florida Hospital, Winter Park, Florida.
8
American Geriatrics Society, New York, New York.
9
Telligen, West Des Moines, Iowa.

Abstract

The Beers Criteria are a valuable tool for clinical care and quality improvement but may be misinterpreted and implemented in ways that cause unintended harms. This article describes the intended role of the 2015 American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Beers Criteria and provides guidance on how patients, clinicians, health systems, and payors should use them. A key theme underlying these recommendations is to use common sense and clinical judgment in applying the 2015 AGS Beers Criteria and to remain mindful of nuances in the criteria. The criteria serve as a "warning light" to identify medications that have an unfavorable balance of benefits and harms in many older adults, particularly when compared with pharmacological and nonpharmacological alternatives. However, there are situations in which use of medications included in the criteria can be appropriate. As such, the 2015 AGS Beers Criteria work best not only when they identify potentially inappropriate medications, but also when they educate clinicians and patients about the reasons those medications are included and the situations in which their use may be more or less problematic. The criteria are designed to support, rather than supplant, good clinical judgment.

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