, Volume 28, Issue 8, pp 679-680
Date: 31 Aug 2012

Drug Trials and Older People

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Older people are by far the largest users of prescription medications in Europe and North America — an unsurprising fact when we remember that older people are the ones that bear the greatest burden of disease. Recent observational reports have once again highlighted the association between multiple prescriptions and potential side effects in this age group,[1,2] yet when we turn to the trials literature to guide our prescribing choices in older people, we find a woeful lack of suitable evidence to guide our practice. Many drug trials still specifically exclude older people, trial populations have far less co-morbid disease and co-prescription than real-world populations, and overly restrictive inclusion and exclusion criteria lead to unrepresentative study populations and can be seen as a manifestation of covert ageism.[3,4] Worst of all, only a few trials report data on the effects of study treatments on physical function, overall quality of life or common problems of age (e.g. falls ...