The median number of medications taken by adults aged 65 and older is four, but may be higher in older adults with cancer. A high number of prescribed medications increases risk for adverse drug reactions (ADRs), drug-drug interactions, drug-disease interactions, and overall healthcare utilization, emphasizing the need for frequent review of medications. There are many tools available to help the health care team assess medication appropriateness; however, none of the currently available tools have been validated in the geriatric oncology population. Older adults with cancer are at increased risk for ADRs and potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) given the common need for multiple medications to manage cancer and cancer-related symptoms. Frequently used PIM identification tools, such as the American Geriatrics Society’s (AGS) Beers criteria, often identify medications as “potentially inappropriate”, although many of these medications are considered necessary to provide adequate supportive care in older patients with cancer. There are currently no specific guidelines to help direct application of available tools. This review summarizes literature available on the use of PIM identification tools in geriatric oncology and highlights a theoretical case and proposed medication management strategy, which combines the use of objective review with Beer’s criteria and clinical judgement with the Medication Appropriateness Index (MAI). This two-pronged approach can serve to identify PIMs while recognizing factors unique to the geriatric oncology population.
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