Orexigenic Agents in Geriatric Clinical Practice

Vishal Viswambharan; Jothika N Manepalli; George T Grossberg


Aging Health. 2013;9(1):49-65. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The problem of involuntary weight loss (IWL) is more pronounced among elderly individuals with psychiatric ailments, with depression being the leading cause. The combination of precipitating factors such as multiple medical comorbidities, polypharmacy, depression and the cachexia of aging, which are unique to elderly patients, present difficulties for physicians treating these individuals. Although research has indicated that certain medications may help promote appetite and weight gain in elderly patients with IWL, as a general rule, drugs should not be considered as first-line treatment. Although the focus of this article has been limited to reviewing the evidence for current orexigenic agents that are used to treat elderly individuals who are experiencing IWL, maintaining a healthy weight is an essential element of well-being and decreased morbidity and mortality. This article will discuss the increased occurrence and risk of IWL in elderly patients and will review the various pharmacotherapeutic agents in the management of IWL.