Pharmacokinetic optimisation of drug therapy in elderly patients

Drugs Aging. 1995 Jul;7(1):10-8. doi: 10.2165/00002512-199507010-00002.


With increasing age, there are a number of physiological changes that affect the handling of drugs in the human body. Increases in body fat percentage as well as decreases in lean body mass, hepatic metabolism and renal elimination capacity are of particular clinical significance. It is important to take these changes into account when choosing drug therapy for older patients in order to minimise adverse effects and maximise potential benefits. This is particularly important when prescribing drugs with a narrow therapeutic index such as digoxin, theophylline, phenytoin, lidocaine (lignocaine) or warfarin. When available, monitoring of plasma concentrations can assist in the optimisation of drug dosage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Analgesics / blood
  • Analgesics / pharmacokinetics*
  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / blood
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anticonvulsants / blood
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / blood
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Humans
  • Psychotropic Drugs / blood
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacokinetics*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Psychotropic Drugs