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What is a Beers List?

12:00 AM Jun 09, 2024 IST | GK HEALTH DESK
what is a beers list

The Beers List, also known as the Beers Criteria, is a guideline that outlines potentially inappropriate medications that should generally be avoided by older adults. It is particularly relevant for individuals aged 60 and older. The list was developed by Dr. Mark H. Beers and has been regularly updated by the American Geriatrics Society. The goal of the Beers List is to improve the safety of prescribing medications for older adults by reducing the risk of adverse drug events.




Key Points of the Beers List:




  1. Potentially Inappropriate Medications (PIMs):


Identifies medications that pose a higher risk of side effects, adverse reactions, or drug interactions in older adults.


Medications on the list may cause confusion, dizziness, falls, and other complications that are particularly concerning in the elderly.



  1. Categories of the Beers List:


Medications to Avoid: Drugs that should generally be avoided in older adults because the risks outweigh the benefits.

Medications to Avoid in Certain Conditions: Drugs that should be avoided in older adults with specific medical conditions because they can exacerbate those conditions.

Medications to Use with Caution: Drugs that can be used in older adults but require close monitoring and caution due to potential side effects or interactions.


  1. Common Examples:


Anticholinergics: Such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), which can cause confusion and urinary retention.

Benzodiazepines: Such as diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan), which increase the risk of falls and cognitive impairment.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Such as ibuprofen and naproxen, which can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney dysfunction.

Certain Antidepressants: Such as amitriptyline and doxepin, which have strong anticholinergic and sedative properties.


  1. Usage in Clinical Practice:

The Beers List is used by healthcare providers to guide prescribing decisions and to help identify medications that may need to be reviewed, discontinued, or replaced with safer alternatives.

It also serves as an educational tool for healthcare professionals and patients to discuss the risks and benefits of certain medications.


  1. Updating the Beers Criteria:

The American Geriatrics Society updates the Beers List periodically to reflect new research and emerging evidence. The most recent updates incorporate current data on drug safety and efficacy in the elderly population.

Importance of the Beers List:

Patient Safety: Helps reduce the incidence of adverse drug events, which are more common in older adults due to changes in drug metabolism and increased sensitivity to medications.

Quality of Care: Supports better clinical decision-making and enhances the overall quality of care for older adults.

Education and Awareness: Increases awareness among healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers about the potential risks associated with certain medications in the elderly.