Abuse/Misuse of Prescription Medications in Older Adults

Clin Geriatr Med. 2022 Feb;38(1):85-97. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2021.07.004. Epub 2021 Aug 26.


The world population is aging due to increasing life expectancy. The rate of drug use increases, and inappropriate prescribing is frequently encountered with advancing age. In addition, misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem in older adults. It is challenging to detect substance and drug abuse in older patients because it may have fewer consequences in social, legal, and occupational fields. However, there is not enough information about the screening, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of abuse. Therefore, the awareness of health care professionals and others involved in older patients' care should be raised about the misuse and abuse of drugs.

Keywords: Abuse; Benzodiazepines; Chronic pain; Inappropriate prescribing; Misuse; Older adults; Opioids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Prescription Drug Misuse*
  • Prescription Drugs* / adverse effects
  • Prescriptions


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Prescription Drugs