Inappropriate drug use among older persons: is it time for action?

Andreas Schoenenberger works with the Division of Geriatrics, Department of General Internal Medicine at Bern University Hospital, and with the University of Bern, Switzerland. Here he describes his recent editorial in Age and Ageing journal, written with Andreas Stuck.Inappropriate Drug

Despite recent efforts to improve drug management for older people, we have not yet arrived at an optimal strategy for reducing inappropriate drug use. Drugs are considered inappropriate, if the risk outweighs the potential benefit of the drug. Along with pathophysiological changes during the ageing process, and the increasing number of co-morbidities/-medications, the potential risks of drugs increase with age and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are encountered more frequently in older persons. Continue reading

Which drugs to stop in which older patients?

Tischa van der Cammen is a Consultant Geriatrician and Carolyn Sterkeis a public health researcher. Both are based at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands and have recently published a paper in Age and Ageing journal.polypharmacy

Drug treatment has brought many benefits for older patients. For example, the treatment of hypertension in patients aged over 80 led to a major reduction in stroke and mortality, as was shown in the HYVET study.

As people age, diseases may accumulate, and hence older patients usually are prescribed several drugs at the same time. It is ‘rule rather than exception’ that patients above age 75 use 4 or more drugs, this is called polypharmacy. There are a variety of definitions for polypharmacy – in the UK it is generally 4 or more prescribed medicines – as specified by Department of health and Rollason.

Inappropriate poly-pharmacy in older patients may lead to negative health impacts Continue reading