gms | German Medical Science

13. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

02.11. bis 03.11.2006, Berlin

Prescription of drugs that should be avoid in the elderly: Beers´ and other lists

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author K. Janhsen - Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS), University of Bremen
  • G. Glaeske - Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS), University of Bremen

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie e.V. (GAA). 13. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie. Berlin, 02.-03.11.2006. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2006. Doc06gaa12

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: October 30, 2006

© 2006 Janhsen et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Context: Drug treatment is an important and frequently used therapeutic option in the elderly but several drugs become ineffective or even harmful in older age caused by e.g. reduced renal/hepatic function and therefore are generally to avoid in these patients.

Mark Beers et al. worked on lists of such drugs from the US market. Due to major differences between the national markets adapted versions of Beers´ list have been generated e.g. by MacLeod for Canada. Major differences in drug prescription for the elderly regarding drugs from these lists were identified for selected European countries. There is neither such drug utilization information nor an adapted version of Beers´ list available for Germany.

Aim of the Study: To characterize prescription of drugs that should be avoided (AD) in the elderly as defined by Beers and MacLeod in a German health insurance company population and to identify treatment quality optimization resources.

Material and Method: A statutory health insurance company’s (GEK, about 140,000 enrollees aged 65years and older) person-specific but non-identifying prescription data from 2005 was analysed.

Results: In 2005 about 22% of drug treated enrollees aged 65 years and older received at least one prescription for a drug from Beers´ and/or MacLeod´s list (males: 18%, females 27%). More than one substance was prescribed for about 20% of females and 15% of males with AD. The most frequently prescribed substances are Nifedipine, Doxazosin, Amiodaron, Pentoxifyllin, Amitriptylin, Reserpine-diuretics-combinations and Doxepine.

Conclusion: Compared with other European countries the prescription prevalence of the focussed drugs is moderate to high in Germany. A national list considering specialties of the German market probably would even lead to higher prevalence.

There is an obvious potential to optimize drug treatment and a need for a German adaptation of Beers list for both medical practice and utilization research.