Updated Beers Criteria Guiding Medication Use in Elderly

Updated Beers Criteria Guiding Medication Use in Elderly

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) has released the 2019 update to the Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults. The update was published online January 29 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  The Beers Criteria, first published in 1991, provides guidance on the selection of medications for older adults, aimed at reducing adverse drug events and improving medication-related outcomes in those patients.  The guideline provides strongly evidence-based recommendations regarding medications to avoid altogether in patients over 65 years of age, and those that should be avoided under certain circumstances (such as in patients with specific diseases or syndromes).  It also provides information on drug-drug interactions that are particularly important in older patients, and drugs that should be used with caution in older patients with underlying renal dysfunction.

The 2019 criteria include 30 medications or medication classes to be avoided in older adults in general and 40 medications or medication classes that should be used with caution or avoided in certain patients with certain diseases or syndromes.

As with all clinical practice guidelines, they are intended to inform practice decisions, and this guideline acknowledges that some drugs and classes of drugs listed may be acceptable for some patients, and that the guidance is not a substitute for clinical judgement of professionals.

The Top 300 Pharmacy Drug Cards includes Beers Criteria listings, and the 2019 guideline is being used to update the 5th edition of the cards, to be released later this year.


A pre-print of the new 2019 Beers Criteria can be found using this link.

The Beers Criteria are listed in all of the Top 300 Pharmacy Drug Cards and the Top 100 Nonprescription Drug Cards.  If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to the Flash Card section.  If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

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