Author Affiliation: Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass.
The sensation of déjà vu is always unsettling, more so
if the event reexperienced is an unpleasant one. In this issue of THE JOURNAL,
Zhan and colleagues1 provide a reprise of a
now-classic tale in geriatric pharmacology and remind physicians of a persistent
and troublesome issue in the care of the elderly population. The authors adapted
a well-known list of drugs to be avoided in elderly patients2- 4
and apply it to data describing medication use among a nationally representative
sample of older Americans, collected in 1996. Their study represents an update
of studies based on data from 19875 and 1992.6 Extrapolating from their sample to the United States
as a whole, Zhan et al1 estimate that 2.6%
of the US population older than 65 years took 1 or more of 11 drugs that should
never be used in this age group.
Avorn J. Improving Drug Use in Elderly PatientsGetting to the Next Level. JAMA. 2001;286(22):2866-2868. doi:10.1001/jama.286.22.2866