Frailty and safety: The example of diabetes

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Frailty is considered a syndrome of decreased reserve and resistance to stressors and is clinically expressed as muscle weakness, poor exercise tolerance, factors related to body composition, sarcopenia and disability. In addition, there is a close relationship between age-related metabolic changes and the occurrence of comorbidities that may in turn lead to frailty. Even though the downward spiral of frailty is activated more quickly in older persons with type 2 diabetes, it is reversible with appropriate interventions before reaching a high level of severity. The hazard for geriatric patients with type 2 diabetes is that frailty encompasses diverse complications already associated with or caused by diabetes. Frailty is also associated with cognitive impairment, reduced ability to perform activities of daily living and increased expression of inflammatory and coagulation markers that may contribute to the adverse microvascular effects of diabetes. Although glycaemic control remains the main targeting achievement in type 2 diabetes, especially in wellfunctioning older persons, this is not appropriate for those with frailty. Frail elderly people with type 2 diabetes are a specific group in need of treatment parameters for both initial and maintenance therapy with oral antidiabetic agents. Therefore, the prescription of an antidiabetic agent in such individuals must take into consideration not only the standard goal of lowering hyperglycaemic levels, but also improving the quality of life and life expectancy. The clinical management of this population is currently particularly demanding, requiring special considerations with good medical decision making. Clinical aspects complicating diabetes care in older people include cognitive decline, physical functional decline and frailty. Available oral antidiabetic drugs include insulin secretagogues (meglitinides and sulfonylureas), biguanides (metformin), a-glucosidase inhibitors, thiazolidinediones and inhibitors of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) degrading enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase 4. In addition, we will discuss injection treatment with GLP-1 analogues. This review will underline the association between diabetes and some frailty components in old patients and how specific antidiabetic agents may play a specific role in improving outcomes. Adis

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalDrug Safety
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology

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