Geriatrics society improves medication guidelines for seniors

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The American Geriatrics Society has released an updated version of the Beers Criteria, a list of medications that are potentially dangerous if prescribed inappropriately to older adults.

First developed in 1991, the Beers Criteria has grown to become one of the most commonly used resources in the geriatrics field. This year's update includes a new list of 13 medications that could cause potentially harmful interactions, including falls, fractures and urinary incontinence. Another addition is a list that details medications that should be avoided or used with caution in patients with poor kidney function.

Each medication on the Beers list is broken down by its therapeutic category, such as anti-infective or cardiovascular, followed by recommendations like “avoid,” and the researcher's' reasoning for the recommendation.

New to the Beers Criteria is the addition of a companion resource that gives alternative therapies to potentially harmful medications. Several medications also have been removed as part of the update because they are no longer available or because their potential danger is no longer limited to just older adults.

The Beers Criteria is available online through the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.