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February 17, 1989

Drugs and the Elderly: Clinical, Social, and Policy Perspectives

JAMA. 1989;261(7):1070. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420070120050

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Unlike many other texts with both "drugs" and "elderly" in the title, this book does not provide clinical guidelines for care of the older patient. Rather, the authors review and summarize recent research into generic problems related to the prescribing of medications for the elderly: inappropriate prescribing, adverse drug reactions, the adequacy of premarketing testing of drugs frequently taken by older patients, the burden of high medication costs, non-compliance, and available methods to improve the quality of medication prescribing by physicians and medication taking by patients. This review is particularly timely because the recent changes in Medicare coverage include a prescription benefit that, when fully implemented, will shift an appreciable portion of medication costs for the elderly to the public sector and thus focus greater attention on these issues.

The book is organized in four parts. The first reviews research that assesses the appropriateness of prescribing by physicians and medication