An overview of age-specific pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics

M. S. McDonagh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The body's handling of drugs can be significantly altered with age. An overview of the way the body manages the movement of drugs through the body, pharmacokinetics, and their interaction with the body to cause their effects, pharmacodynamics, is provided. Clinically significant changes rather than those seen only in laboratory-controlled conditions are stressed. Some specific drug categories that present increased risk for older patients (psychoactive drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, histamine-2 antagonists and warfarin) are reviewed in detail. In summary, there are numerous changes in drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics with aging. Some of these can be clinically significant, causing adverse effects or lack of clinical efficacy. Knowledge of the mechanisms, and specific drugs at- risk, will enable practitioners successfully to prescribe drugs even from the high-risk categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-86
Number of pages6
JournalAging Male
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug therapy
  • Elderly
  • Geriatric
  • Pharmacodynamic
  • Pharmacokinetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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