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Medication Absorbtion Changes in the Elderly

elderlyAn Elderly Body is Different & Medicine will Absorb Differently

As a person ages, there are changes to their organs and receptors that make it difficult for them to absorb medicines.[1] The rate at which a medicine is absorbed determines the rate at which it will begin to take effect. With the elderly, the rate of absorption may be effected by the slower movements of the stomach muscles that aid in digestion.1 Still, the medicine will eventually pass through to the elderly’s liver and become metabolized, then entering into circulation.1 However, a smaller dose of a medicine will be required for a therapeutic effect.1

Elderly Store Medicine Differently within their Bodies

Also, as medicine will also usually be distributed to other organs, eliminated by kidneys, or metabolized in the liver, aging effects all of this due to a reduction in lean body mass.1 However, elderly tend to store medicines in fat stores more often.1 Therefore, medicines stay in an elderly body longer than they do in a younger body.1

Medicine Metabolism Increased in Elderly

There are genetic polymorphisms that result in differences in medication levels among elderly, such as little to no enzyme activity that leads to high levels of a medicine and rapid metabolism of the medicine so high doses are not needed.1 Therefore, as metabolism is increased, elderly should keep hydrated and have their kidney function evaluated to determine the best dose of a medicine.1



[1] Jacobson, S. (2013, January 18). Effects of Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Changes in the Elderly – Psychiatric Times. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved February 20, 2013, from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/2123794 Elderly.

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