Geriatric drug therapy: neglecting the inevitable majority

Ageing Res Rev. 2010 Oct;9(4):384-98. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2010.04.005. Epub 2010 May 15.


Demographic evolution will considerably increase the number of people aged 65 years and beyond in the coming decades. The elderly not only represent the most heterogeneous population, but also are a major user group for prescribed medicines, a predominance that will continue to further increase. Medicines and medication management are much more complex and challenging in the elderly and can only be addressed through a multidisciplinary approach. There is strong evidence that the elderly are able to properly manage their medication; however, their medications require different features than the standard medications used by adults. The elderly are exposed to several chronic disease conditions and their treatments, as well as experience age-related changes and limitations that need to be reflected in their medication management strategies. Geriatric drug therapy remains a multidisciplinary task. The health care industry, physicians, pharmacists, nurses and care givers provide and guide the patient's therapy according to individual needs, while the health care system and regulatory authorities build the necessary framework of support and resources.Any realistic and significant enhancement to the elderly patients' medicines and medication management needs to be addressed by all disciplines and stakeholders involved since the absence of any of the stakeholders in the overall process negatively impacts the achievable enhancement in geriatric drug therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging* / physiology
  • Aging* / psychology
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Chronic Disease / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Clinical Pharmacy Information Systems / organization & administration
  • Denmark
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / economics
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / physiopathology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control
  • Germany
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Polypharmacy*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Switzerland