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University of Miami Division of Clinical Pharmacology Therapeutic Rounds: Medications Used to Treat Anorexia in the Frail Elderly

Golden, Adam G. *; Daiello, Lori A.2; Silverman, Michael A.3; Llorente, Maria4; Preston, Richard A.5

American Journal of Therapeutics: July-August 2003 - Volume 10 - Issue 4 - p 292-298
Clinical Therapeutic Conference

Weight loss and anorexia are common problems that are associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the growing frail elderly population. Orexigenic agents are often prescribed in an attempt to improve appetite and lean muscle mass. Much of the data regarding their benefit comes from studies involving younger patients with illnesses such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or cancer. This article reviews the use and potential adverse events associated with these medications in frail elderly patients. This article also discusses the effects of the different antidepressants and antipsychotics on weight gain and appetite.

1Department of Internal Medicine, Orlando Regional Healthcare, Orlando, Florida, and Department of Geriatrics, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, Florida; 2Pharmacotherapy Solutions, Orlando, Florida; 3Geriatrics and Long-Term Care, Martinsburg VA Medical Center, Martinsburg, West Virginia, and University of West Virginia School of Medicine, Morgantown, West Virginia; 4Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Miami School of Medicine, and Miami VA Medical Center, Miami, Florida; and 5Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida.

*Address for correspondence: Department of Internal Medicine, Orlando Regional Healthcare, 86 W. Underwood Street, Suite 102, Orlando, FL, 32806 U.S.A. E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.