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Too Many Pills for Aging Patients (New York Times)

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An interdisciplinary panel of 11 experts in geriatric care and pharmacology updated the Beers Criteria – a set of guidelines used to minimize medication reaction problems in the elderly. After reviewing more than 2,000 research studies of medication prescribed for older adults, the team found 53 potentially inappropriate medications or classes of medication and placed them in one of three categories: drugs to avoid in general in the elderly, drugs to avoid in older people with certain diseases and syndromes, and drugs to use with caution in the elderly if there are no acceptable alternatives. The team said its criteria should be used by physicians and patients, but emphasized that the guidelines should not override a doctor’s clinical judgment or a patient’s needs and values, not be used as grounds for malpractice disputes.