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HelixTalk #182 - 2023 Beers Criteria Update: Navigating Medications Safely in Older Patients

Date posted: May 7, 2024, 6:00 am

In this episode, we discuss principles for medication use in the geriatric patient population and summarize the updated 2023 American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults.


Key Concepts

  1. The Beer’s Criteria was originally developed by Dr. Mark Beers in 1991 to identify medications in which the risks may outweigh the benefits in nursing home patients. This list is now maintained by the American Geriatrics Society and includes a variety of drug safety information related to elderly patients including medications that are considered potentially inappropriate (Table 2 and 3), medications used with caution (Table 4), drug-drug interactions (Table 5), drugs with renal dose adjustments (Table 6), and drugs with anticholinergic properties (Table 7).
  2. The newest update prefers apixaban over other DOACs for VTE and atrial fibrillation in elderly patients. This is a very controversial recommendation given that other guidelines (e.g. from the ACC/AHA) have not published a similar preference of one DOAC over another.
  3. Many of the medications that are potentially inappropriate involve drugs that have anticholinergic properties and drugs that increase the risk of incoordination and falls.
  4. Other resources exist to guide drug therapy decisions in elderly patients. As an example, the STOPP/START criteria (published in the European Geriatric Medicine journal) outlines drugs to avoid but also drugs to consider in elderly patients.


  1. By the 2023 American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria Update Expert Panel. American Geriatrics Society 2023 Updated AGS Beers Criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults. J AM Geriatr Soc. 2023;71(7):2052-2081. doi:10.1111/jgs.18372.
  2. O'Mahony D, Cherubini A, Guiteras AR, Denkinger M, Beuscart JB, Onder G, Gudmundsson A, Cruz-Jentoft AJ, Knol W, Bahat G, van der Velde N, Petrovic M, Curtin D. STOPP/START criteria for potentially inappropriate prescribing in older people: version 3. Eur Geriatr Med. 2023 Aug;14(4):625-632. doi: 10.1007/s41999-023-00777-y.