Beers Criteria® Make Note of Meds That May Be Inappropriate for Seniors

Syndicated medical columnist Keith Roach, MD, of the Cornell Medical School has said it is his experience that “many medications are prescribed to older adults even when there is good evidence these medicines have increased risk.” He points out that the American Geriatrics Society’s (AGS) Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication (PIM) Use in Older Adults is widely used by clinicians, educators, researchers, healthcare administrators, and regulators who consult its regularly updated list of PIMs that are typically best avoided by older adults in most circumstances or under specific situations, such as in certain diseases or conditions. “The criteria are intended to be applied to adults age 65 and older in all ambulatory, acute, and institutionalized settings of care, except hospice and end-of-life care settings,” the AGS states. “Whenever and wherever used, the AGS Beers Criteria should be applied thoughtfully and in a manner that supports, rather than replaces, shared clinical decision-making.” The goals of the Criteria are described as reducing older adults’ exposure to potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs), educating clinicians and patients, and serving as a tool for evaluating the quality of care, cost, and patterns of drug use in older adults. Patients with concerns about their meds may wish to ask their physicians whether the Beers Criteria apply to what they have been or are being prescribed.

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