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Chapter 26. Psychopharmacology

Benoit H. Mulsant, M.D.; Bruce G. Pollock, M.D., Ph.D.
DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9781585623754.395975

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Excerpt

Pharmacological intervention in late life requires special care. Elderly patients are more susceptible to drug-induced adverse events. Particularly troublesome among older persons are peripheral and central anticholinergic effects such as constipation, urinary retention, delirium, and cognitive dysfunction; antihistaminergic effects such as sedation; and antiadrenergic effects such as postural hypotension. Sedation and orthostatic hypotension not only interfere with basic activities but also pose a significant safety risk to elderly patients because they can lead to falls and fractures. Increased susceptibility to adverse effects in elders may be a result of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic changes associated with aging, such as diminished glomerular filtration, changes in the density and activity of target receptors, reduced liver size and hepatic blood flow, and decreased cardiac output (Lotrich and Pollock 2005) (Table 26–1).

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Table Reference Number
Table 26–1. Physiological changes in elderly persons associated with altered pharmacokinetics
Table Reference Number
Table 26–2. Summary of published randomized, controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for acute treatment of geriatric depression
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Table 26–3. Pharmacokinetic properties of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
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Table 26–4. Newer antidepressants' inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) and potential for clinically significant drug-drug interactions
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Table 26–5. Summary of published randomized, controlled trials of bupropion, duloxetine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, and venlafaxine for acute treatment of geriatric depression
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Table 26–6. Receptor blockade of atypical antipsychotics
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Table 26–7. Cholinesterase inhibitors

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Data show that all available selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have similar efficacy and tolerability in the treatment of depression in older adults; however, experts favor which of the following agents?
2.
Which of the SSRIs needs to be administered twice a day in the elderly?
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If a TCA is to be prescribed to an older patient, which of the following agents is preferred?
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Developing a curriculum in psychogeriatrics. Am J Psychiatry 1979;136(9):1157-61.
 
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