Pharmacological issues in the elderly

Ruben E. Olmedo, Denise Nassisi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter presents a case of 79-year-old man who presented with increasing confusion, general weakness, and lethargy. There are multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to the risk of adverse drug reactions in the elderly population. Older adults have significant alterations in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics that influence the way they process and respond to medications. The aging process is associated with increased chronic diseases that require treatment with multiple medications often resulting in polypharmacy. The physiologic changes and the increased number of medications increase the risk of adverse drug reactions and drug-drug interactions in this population. Pharmacodynamics relates the effect of a drug on the end organ or the physiologic effect of the drug. The brown bag checkup is the less formal but effective process of going through the patient's bag of medications at the bedside with the patient and family or caregiver.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeriatric Emergencies
Subtitle of host publicationA Discussion-based Review
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781118753262
ISBN (Print)9781118753347
StatePublished - 31 May 2016


  • Adverse drug reactions
  • Aging process
  • Brown bag checkup
  • Chronic diseases
  • Drug-drug interactions
  • Elderly patients
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Polypharmacy


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