Geriatric psychopharmacology: Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic considerations

Andrew D. Carlo, Jonathan E. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Older adults represent the fastest growing demographic in both developing and developed countries. Understanding pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic principles relevant to psychopharmacology in geriatric patients is increasingly important to optimize psychiatric treatment. This review discusses the four pharmacokinetic processes (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) with regard to age-related changes. These include a generally slower rate of absorption, increases in the ratio of adipose to lean body mass and volume of distribution of medications, reductions in phase I metabolism, and decreases in renal function. In addition, this review discusses pharmacodynamic factors relevant to pharmacotherapy in older age, such as changes in receptor density and homeostatic and regulatory mechanisms. Geriatric psychopharmacology will benefit from an expanding evidence base as research on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics increasingly includes older individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-341
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatric Annals
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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