Medicines for older people

By 2050, it is estimated that 30% of the total population will be aged 65 or older. Older people often have more than one illness and can be taking multiple medicines.

The treatment needs of older people are different to younger people. The older someone gets, the more these differences can have an effect:

  • older people can be more strongly affected by their disease
  • older people’s bodies take up and remove medicines in a different way
  • older people may be more likely to get side effects from medicines
  • older people may have cognitive or physical problems affecting their ability to take medicines.

World Mental Health Day this year focused on the often hidden mental health problems in the elderly, in particular depression and dementia. One of its aims was to encourage countries around the world to consider the services and support required by older people for their mental health.

When Luto tests a piece of information, we consider carefully who the information is written for – to make sure that people in the target group are included in the study. If a medicine is more likely to be used in middle aged and older people (such as a medicine for cancer or type 2 diabetes) we will focus on these age groups.

This means we regularly have participants visiting our offices in their 70s and 80s. For those less able to travel, we have visited older peoples’ community groups which have expressed an interest in being involved in evaluating patient information.

If you are an older person and would like to volunteer to take part, visit our volunteer page to find out more.