Inappropriate Medications for Elderly Patients

Darryl S. Chutka, Paul Y. Takahashi, Robert W. Hoel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


The use of medications is common in elderly persons, and this population has the highest risk of medication-related problems Elderly persons are more susceptible to the effects of various medications for a number of reasons. It is well known that polypharmacy is one of the most serious problems in caring for elderly persons; however, many of these patients continue to receive medications that have an increased risk of causing harm. In 1991, an important article was published about inappropriate medication use in the elderly population. This article raised awareness of the problem and presented explicit criteria for determining which meditations were inappropriate for elderly patients residing in long-term care facilities. This list of drugs is still used for evaluating medications taken by elderly persons and for determining whether satisfactory prescribing practices are being used. We reviewed the medications described, as inappropriate for elderly persons and searched the scientific literature to determine whether evidence exists to defend or refute the labeling of particular drugs. At times, evidence was difficult to find, and many of the original studies were dated. For most medications listed as inappropriate, we found evidence to support these designations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-139
Number of pages18
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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