Reports in the popular press about the increasing longevity of Americans and the aging of the baby boom generation are constant reminders that the American population is becoming older. Consequently, an issue of growing medical, health policy, and social concern is the appropriate and rational use of medications by the elderly.
Although becoming older does not necessarily correlate with increasing illness, aging is associated with anatomical and physiological changes that affect how medications are metabolized by the body. Furthermore, aging is often related to an increased frequency of chronic illness (often combined with multiple health problems) and an increased use of medications. Thus, a better understanding of the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs; of the physiologic responses to those medications; as well as of the interactions among multiple medications is crucial for improving the health of older people.