Oral drug therapy in elderly with dysphagia: Between a rock and a hard place!

Serena Logrippo, Giovanna Ricci, Matteo Sestili, Marco Cespi, Letizia Ferrara, Giovanni Filippo Palmieri, Roberta Ganzetti, Giulia Bonacucina, Paolo Blasi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Demographic indicators forecast that by 2050, the elderly will account for about one-third of the global population. Geriatric patients require a large number of medicines, and in most cases, these products are administered as solid oral solid dosage forms, as they are by far the most common formulations on the market. However, this population tends to suffer difficulties with swallowing. Caregivers in hospital geriatric units routinely compound in solid oral dosage forms for dysphagic patients by crushing the tablets or opening the capsules to facilitate administration. The manipulation of a tablet or a capsule, if not clearly indicated in the product labeling, is an off-label use of the medicine, and must be supported by documented scientific evidence and requires the patient’s informed consent. Compounding of marketed products has been recognized as being responsible for an increased number of adverse events and medical errors. Since extemporaneous compounding is the rule and not the exception in geriatrics departments, the seriousness and scope of issues caused by this daily practice are probably underestimated. In this article, the potential problems associated with the manipulation of authorized solid oral dosage forms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Publication statusPublished - Jan 31 2017


  • Compounding
  • Dysphagia
  • Gastrointestinal tract toxicity
  • Geriatric medicine
  • Modified-release formulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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