Therapy insight: how changes in renal function with increasing age affect cardiovascular drug prescribing.
Age is well recognized as a powerful prognostic factor in the setting of cardiovascular disease. With the aging of the US population, it is projected that more than 50 million people will be aged over 65 years by the year 2020. This growing elderly population has increased rates of morbidity and mortality owing to cardiovascular disease; however, proven therapies for prevention and treatment are often underused in older patients, largely because physicians perceive them as being frail and have limited understanding of age-related unique adverse and therapeutic effects. Advancing age is associated with a number of physiologic and pathophysiologic changes that impact the toxic effects, efficacy and dosing of many medications. Decreases in lean muscle mass affect the volume of distribution, and reductions in hepatic function affect the metabolism of many medications. Age-related reductions in renal function might have the most profound impact on the safety profile and dosing of medications in elderly patients. The strong association between renal and cardiovascular disease makes recognition of renal dysfunction and appropriate dose adjustment particularly important in elderly patients with cardiovascular disease. This article reviews current approaches to the estimation of renal function, and unique considerations related to prescribing medication for elderly patients with concomitant renal and cardiovascular disease.
Wyatt, CM; Kim, MC; Winston, JA
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