Drugs in the Elderly


One of my favorite areas of medicine is the challenge involved with treating the elderly. While on rotations in school I elderlywas fortunate enough to be placed at a site with an all-inclusive care program for the elderly. The program was a mixture of adult daycare and healthcare (physicians, nurse practitioners, physical & occupational therapists, etc. were on site). I LOVED the older patients - they were full of wisdom and had a no holds barred attitude, saying whatever they wanted to say!!!

I quickly learned there is more to treating the elderly than one would think. I assumed you could treat the older patient exactly like a younger adult suffering from the same ailment - Not true!

There are several different challenges to meet when dealing with the elderly and medicine so I'm going to hit on one area at a time - hopefully this keeps the topic from being too overwhelming.

We'll start with what your body does to drugs after you take it (pharmacokinetics - big word!), which consists of four major areas. Note: this may be a little confusing, but please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions! The major areas are:

1)    Absorption - the movement of the drug into the bloodstream

2)    Distribution - the movement of the drug between the blood and the different tissues of the body (i.e. muscle, fat, and brain tissue)

3)    Metabolism - how your body changes the drug in preparation for elimination

4)    Elimination - how the drug is removed from your body

These actions all change as you get older and at some point they will change to a degree in which extra care is needed.

Stay tuned for more to find out how the abovementioned areas change as you age.  In the meantime, visit my blog at http://www.getpharmacyadvice.com for additional pharmacy-related issues!

Hey there, my name is Cate Sibley, and along with my good friend Nova, I run a site called http://www.getpharmacyadvice.com. I am a licensed pharmacist trying to share my knowledge and offer help to those with questions relating to their medications and health - something I have a hard time doing while at the pharmacy due to lack of time and privacy. Come to my site and I will be sure to give you what you need. In return, you will be giving me the opportunity I've been looking for with my pharmacy career -the chance to help you and others in a private and hassle-free manner.