Review
Published: 2016-03-15

Management of oral drug therapy in elderly patients with dysphagia

Unit of Geriatric Pharmacopidemiology, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Cosenza, Italy
Unit of Geriatric Pharmacopidemiology, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Cosenza, Italy
2 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy
Unit of Clinical Pharmacy, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Ancona, Italy
Unit of Clinical Pharmacy, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Ancona, Italy
Medical Direction, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Ancona, Italy
Medical Direction, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Ancona, Italy
Unit of Rehabilitation, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Cosenza, Italy
Unit of Geriatric Medicine, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Cosenza, Italy
Unit of Geriatric Pharmacopidemiology, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Cosenza, Italy
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy
Swallowing disorders Dysphagia Elderly Functional status Polypharmacy Medication-induced dysphagia

Abstract

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.

Affiliations

S. Fusco

Unit of Geriatric Pharmacopidemiology, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Cosenza, Italy

D. Cariati

Unit of Geriatric Pharmacopidemiology, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Cosenza, Italy

R. Schepisi

2 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy

R. Ganzetti

Unit of Clinical Pharmacy, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Ancona, Italy

M. Sestili

Unit of Clinical Pharmacy, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Ancona, Italy

S. David

Medical Direction, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Ancona, Italy

L. Ferrara

Medical Direction, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Ancona, Italy

M. Liuzzi Gatto

Unit of Rehabilitation, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Cosenza, Italy

S. Vena

Unit of Geriatric Medicine, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Cosenza, Italy

A. Corsonello

Unit of Geriatric Pharmacopidemiology, Italian National Research Centre on Aging, Research Hospital of Cosenza, Italy

F. Corica

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy

Copyright

© Società Italiana di Gerontologia e Geriatria (SIGG) , 2016

How to Cite

[1]
Fusco, S., Cariati, D., Schepisi, R., Ganzetti, R., Sestili, M., David, S., Ferrara, L., Liuzzi Gatto, M., Vena, S., Corsonello, A. and Corica, F. 2016. Management of oral drug therapy in elderly patients with dysphagia. JOURNAL OF GERONTOLOGY AND GERIATRICS. 64, 1 (Mar. 2016), 9-20.
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