Pharmacotherapy Considerations in Elderly Adults

James M. Wooten, PharmD


South Med J. 2012;105(8):437-445. 

In This Article


Pharmacotherapy mishaps among elderly patients are a major healthcare issue and a problem for all healthcare practitioners treating elderly patients. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants, and patients' families and caregivers are responsible for improving the care provided to elderly patients. Effective communication is vitally important.

Table 7 is a list of specific methods that practitioners can use to improve pharmacotherapy for their elderly patients. Working with patients so that they can be compliant with their pharmacotherapy plan is extremely important. Practitioners' understanding the pharmacology of the drugs prescribed to elderly patients will help ensure that doses are appropriate. Implementing a thorough and thoughtful monitoring plan for the prescribed pharmacotherapy will help ensure that the medications are effective and help to catch any unwanted effects that may arise.

The type of pharmacotherapy that is available to physicians for fighting disease is extensive. The number of available drugs will continue to increase. These drugs are effective only if used prudently. Thoughtful consideration about every pharmacotherapy plan will help ensure that all patients receive the best care possible.