The Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults (i.e., at least 65 years of age), originally developed by Mark H. Beers in 1991, continue to be used by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) to provide guidance regarding medications that should be avoided in most older patients or in certain situations.
The goals are to improve medication selection, educate physicians and patients, avoid adverse effects, and help evaluate care quality and medication use trends for older adults. The 2019 update uses the five criteria outlined in 2015; these include medications that should typically be avoided in most older patients, medications that should be avoided in older patients with certain conditions, medications that should be used with caution because of benefits that may offset risks, medication interactions, and changes in dosing based on kidney function.
In addition to these criteria, decisions about medications should take into account a variety of factors, including stopping medications when they are no longer beneficial.
However, because the Beers List has been updated several times and also varies across jurisdictions, comparable data related to the use of these drugs and their effects are difficult to obtain. A 2001 study found that 21% of community-dwelling elderly US patients were on at least one of 33 potentially inappropriate medications. A more recent study found that 34% to 47% of elderly outpatients and nursing home Medicare and Medicaid Service residents in the United States were taking at least one Beers List medication.