An update on geriatric medication safety and challenges specific to the care of older adults

Michael Koronkowski, University of Illinois at Chicago
Christine Eisenhower, University of Rhode Island
Zachary Marcum, University of Washington


The prescribing of drug therapies in older adults presents a number of safety challenges. The increased complexity of chronic care for older adults has led to polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication use, which can contribute to drug-induced diseases, adverse drug reactions, drug interactions, cognitive impairment, falls, hospitalization, and mortality. In this review, the authors discuss recent medication safety literature pertaining to the classes of medications commonly prescribed to older adults: anticholinergics, psychiatric medications, and antibiotics. Safety concerns associated with the use of these medications and the implications for long-term care practitioners are reviewed. The information provided can be used to inform and improve geriatric care delivered by practitioners across health care environments.