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Geriatric Pharmacology

Safer Prescribing for the Elderly Patient

Rollin M. Wright Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School, Providence, RI.

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Rick W. Warpula The Woodlands Foot Health Center, The Woodlands, TX. Dr. Warpula is now in private practice, Merritt Island, FL.

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Adverse drug effects are common in elderly patients but can often be avoided. Judicious prescribing practices require the clinician to be aware of age-related changes in drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination. Clinicians may need to adjust drug dose, frequency, or the choice of drug altogether as they consider the physiologic changes of aging. This article reviews prescribing situations with elderly patients commonly encountered by the podiatric physician. Strategies for medication management are provided to minimize the risk of adverse drug events in the older patient. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(2): 90-97, 2004)

Corresponding author: Rollin M. Wright, MD, MA, Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, 593 Eddy St, Providence, RI 02903.