AUA White Paper on the Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults

Tomas L. Griebling, Martin K. Dineen, Catherine E. DuBeau, Deborah J. Lightner, George F. Owens, Christopher Tessier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Medication related problems are common but may be preventable outcomes of prescribing choices. Risks associated with medications in the older adult population are greater due to changes in physiological function with age or disease. Older adults and those with significant comorbidities are often excluded from the clinical trials used to develop medications. In 2012 the American Geriatrics Society published the most recent update of the Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults. Several medications included in sections of the Beers Criteria are frequently used in clinical urology, including nitrofurantoin, alpha-1 blocker medications, and antimuscarinic anticholinergic medications for the treatment of urge incontinence and overactive bladder. We describe the challenges and considerations that are useful in prescribing medications for geriatric patients. Methods: A literature review was performed targeting publications from 2003 to 2013 on the topics of the Beers Criteria, potentially inappropriate medications and specific urological medications included in the current version of the Beers Criteria. An expert panel was convened to evaluate this information and create this white paper with the purpose of educating the urological community on these issues. Results: The rationale for the creation and implementation of the Beers Criteria and its implications for urological practice are reviewed. Careful examination of the Beers Criteria can help clinicians avoid potentially inappropriate prescribing choices for their geriatric patients. We also identified that the HEDIS® high risk medications list of potentially inappropriate medications has been implemented as a negative quality indicator, even though this was not an original purpose of the Beers Criteria. In other words, decisions of denial of coverage and/or requirements for preauthorization are being made using the Beers Criteria as justification by third party payers and other entities. Conclusions: The Beers Criteria were developed to improve prescribing practices for older adult patients to reduce or avoid potential risks and complications. We encourage clinicians to educate themselves about the Beers Criteria recommendations and associated initiatives that are aimed at improving the care of older adult patients. Urologists should have a key role in the development, evaluation, implementation and analysis of practice measures and the resulting policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-111
Number of pages10
JournalUrology Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Geriatrics
  • Polypharmacy
  • Prescription drugs
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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