Management of oral drug therapy in elderly patients with dysphagia
We aimed at summarizing current evidence on age-related changes in swallowing, the impact of selected
medications on swallowing, and the management of oral drug therapy in older patients with dysphagia. The
risk for oropharyngeal swallowing disorders increases with age. Though increasing age facilitates subtle physiologic
changes in swallow function, age-related diseases are most significant factors in the onset and severity
of dysphagia. In older people, dysphagia can also occur as a side effect of some medications. Drug-induced
dysphagia can appear as a drug side effect or as a complication of the therapeutic action of the drug, mainly
through induction of xerostomia, impaired swallowing muscle function or esophageal injury. Whatever the
mechanism leading to dysphagia, the administraton of drugs to dysphagic patients is a really challenging issue.
Manipulations of solid oral drugs frequently occur in geriatric settings, leading to potential medication errors
and changes in drug performance. The implementation of guidelines for management of oral drug therapy
in dysphagic patients may contribute to improve the quality of care provided to this very frail population.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
© Società Italiana di Gerontologia e Geriatria (SIGG) , 2016
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