Close X
Get more out of
by joining the site for free
Free 17-point plan to great health
Twice weekly e-news bulletins
Access to our News, Forums and Blogs
Sign up for free and claim your
17-point plan to great health
Free 17-point plan to great health

Twice weekly e-news bulletins

Access to our News, Forums and Blogs

If you want to read our in-depth research articles or
have our amazing magazine delivered to your home
each month, then you have to pay.

Click here if you're interested
Helping you make better health choices

In shops now or delivered to your home from only £3.50 an issue!


Drugs for the elderly: they're a health hazard (the drugs, that is)
About the author: 

Now here's a funny thing about prescription drugs

Now here's a funny thing about prescription drugs. In the main they're taken by older people - in fact, one study revealed that, on average, a retired person may take at least three different drugs every day - and yet the drugs are rarely tested on elderly people before being licensed.

Usually pre-licensing trials recruit strapping young medical students who need to earn a few thousand extra quid (or dollars).

So when a drug is launched, nobody's too sure what effect it will have on its intended market.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the elderly patient doesn't usually take to the drug quite as well as our young medical student. In fact, one study has discovered that up to 48 commonly prescribed drugs could pose 'unacceptable hazards' or simply be ineffective in elderly people.

Older people have slower metabolisms, chronic conditions and weak constitutions, and so drugs that they might have been able to tolerate even a few years previously now present a health hazard. New side-effects can also emerge as the patient ages.

So is the answer to include more elderly patients in pre-licensing trials? Theoretically, yes, but drug companies would never do that - because all the adverse reactions that would suddenly be reported would almost ensure the drug would never get its licence.

Silly of us for asking, really.

(Source: Washington Times, 15 December 2003, and British Medical Journal, 2004; 328: 176).

You may also be interested in...

Latest Tweet


Since 1989, WDDTY has provided thousands of resources on how to beat asthma, arthritis, depression and many other chronic conditions.

Start by looking in our fully searchable database, active and friendly community forums and the latest health news.

Positive SSL Wildcard

Facebook Twitter

Most Popular Health Website of the Year 2014

© 2010 - 2017 WDDTY Publishing Ltd.
All Rights Reserved