Pharmacotherapy considerations in elderly adults

South Med J. 2012 Aug;105(8):437-45. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e31825fed90.


Life expectancy for Americans has increased dramatically since 1900, as have the available pharmacotherapeutic options. Unfortunately, pharmacotherapy mishaps occur commonly in the older adult population. This problem greatly affects the morbidity and mortality of elderly patients and greatly increases healthcare costs. To improve patient care among elderly adults, healthcare practitioners must consider several issues when developing a pharmacotherapy plan. A thorough understanding of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, adverse drug reactions, drug interactions, and several other factors is necessary for practitioners to develop a safe and effective drug therapy plan for older adults. This review provides a general but comprehensive review of the issues pertaining to pharmacotherapy in elderly people and offers several suggestions for improving their pharmaceutical care.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy / methods*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Medication Systems
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Polypharmacy