Orexigenic Agents in Geriatric Clinical Practice

Vishal Viswambharan; Jothika N Manepalli; George T Grossberg


Aging Health. 2013;9(1):49-65. 

In This Article


IWL is a commonly encountered medical problem in the elderly, particularly residents of nursing home and long-term facilities. It has been found to be associated with increased mortality and morbidity in this subgroup, and thus demands the serious thought and attention of physicians. Despite several medications having been suggested for the treatment of anorexia in elderly patients, none of these orexigenic drugs has as yet found an established place in the routine management of malnutrition and IWL. This problem is further compounded by the fact that these drugs, although they can increase appetite and promote weight gain, also have a variety of potentially serious side effects, such that they should only be used in selected patients (Table 3). Patients should have a thorough medical and psychogeriatric evaluation and should be treated depending upon their risk stratification. In addition to the pharmacological therapy, social and psychological support has been shown to have a beneficial effect on overall calorie intake, thus improving morbidity and mortality. To summarize, IWL in the elderly is a common and complex problem that merits further research via larger, longer, controlled trials.