Older people are the main users of medications and also more likely to suffer the adverse effects of medications. Pharmacological Research is investigating how to improve the use of medications in older people. The research involves understanding how old age affects the metabolism and action of medications. In addition, strategies to encourage quality use of medications are being studied. Some brief information about this research follows. Nearly 90% of older people take prescribed medications, and nearly a quarter of these people take five or more medications. The most common conditions in older people treated by their GPs include hypertension, osteoarthritis, diabetes, immunisation, lipid disorders and ischaemic heart disease. The medications prescribed to older people reflect this and are shown in the adjoining figure. The ageing process can also be identified by the increasing inability to withstand any pathological or physiological stress, which can lead to frailty, disability and even death. As older people are more likely to take and have an adverse reaction to medications (compared to younger people), medications can in fact contribute as a stressor agent. Polypharmacy is a term that describes the use of multiple medications at one time. Generally, there is little clinical evidence on its effectiveness because most clinical trials are performed on patients with single conditions. On the other hand, the adverse effects of polypharmacy, including drug reactions and fall risk factors are well known and are part of the research work conducted by the Pharmacological Research unit at Concord. Multiple drug use Adverse drug use High incidence of medications You are here:  > Funded Research > Pharmacology in Older People Pharmacology in Older People