Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Beers

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Aug• 27•10

As a Wisconsin-native, you may be surprised that this is my first post about Beers.  I do like beer.  My preference is for either dark beers (e.g., porters, stouts) or Belgian ales.  Today, however, I am not going to endulge you in a discussion about beer.

Instead, I want to talk about the Beers criteria.  The Beers criteria lists a number of medications that are considered inappropriate to prescribe to the elderly.  Generally, the side effects of these drugs outweigh the potential benefits for more frail seniors.  The list has been updated numerous times, most recently in 1997 and updated in 2003.

Many medication therapy management (MTM) programs use the Beers list to identify high risk drugs.  Computer algorithms can use data on the beneficiary’s age and the drug prescribed to determine if the medication meets the Beers criteria.  If this is the case, the pharmacist can alert the patient and/or prescribing physician in order to alter the treatment plan.

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