Principles of drug therapy in geriatric patients

Am Fam Physician. 1992 Jun;45(6):2709-18.


The elderly comprise 12 percent of the U.S. population but consume 33 percent of all prescription drugs. The incidence of adverse drug reactions is significantly higher in persons over age 65 than in younger population groups. The increased risk of adverse drug effects is related to decreased organ reserve capacity, to altered pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and to polypharmacy with associated drug-drug and drug-disease interactions. An organized therapeutic plan and critical evaluation of the list of drugs an elderly patient is taking will help in establishing a safe and effective drug regimen.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy / methods*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Geriatrics / methods*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Organization and Administration
  • Patient Care Planning / standards
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Renal Circulation / drug effects
  • Risk Factors