Cardiovascular drug therapy in elderly patients: specific age-related pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and therapeutic considerations

Drugs Aging. 2005;22(11):913-41. doi: 10.2165/00002512-200522110-00003.


An increasing number of elderly patients are exposed to cardiovascular drugs for the treatment of acute and/or chronic conditions. This is a result of the progressive aging of the population, a common feature in most industrialised countries, and an improvement in primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention strategies with increased survival rates. Traditionally, most elderly patients receiving cardiovascular drugs had advanced cardiac, liver and kidney disease that significantly influenced drug pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters. Currently, however, many patients without significant organ impairment receive cardiovascular therapy for primary or early secondary prevention (i.e. increased vascular risk, asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction, poststroke phase, type 2 diabetes mellitus), highlighting the need for a better understanding of specific age-related pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects. A systematic review has been conducted on the specific effects of aging, in the absence of major co-morbidities, on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of traditional and newer cardiovascular drugs. Currently, the evidence available is poor or nonexisting for several drugs and mainly derived from very small and underpowered studies, thus limiting data interpretation. In particular, there is very little information on patients >80 years of age, thus raising important concerns about the correct use of these drugs in this constantly growing population.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans


  • Cardiovascular Agents