By: Sven Stegemann
Longevity is an achievement of modern society and the exponential evolution of science, technology, and health care. In recent decades, average life expectancy has grown by three months each year—steadily increasing the number as well as the age of older people. With the typical occurrence of chronic diseases increasing in the fifth decade of life, the multimorbid and oldest of the old are becoming the major demographic for pharmaceutical drug products. The rising age of patients is driving the development of new patient populations characterized by complex clinical manifestation and impaired daily functioning.
These patient populations have become the most frequent users of pharmaceutical drug products and they personally manage their complex treatment schedules. Because of this changing dynamic, drug product development and prescription as well as usability will need to evolve. Interestingly, substantial work on t his subject, such as the Beers List and START/STOPP, has already been completed by various disciplines and is triggering compelling multidisciplinary discussions between medical, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and regulatory sciences. These initial insights reveal that the growing patient population of older adults presents significant opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry to develop new therapies that enhance therapeutic outcomes, while also targeting health issues that are not considered diseases yet, like sarcopenia.
The new book Developing Drug Products in an Aging Society—From Concept to Prescribing, published in the AAPS Advances in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Series, provides an expert synopsis of the various health care professions exploring older adults as a patient population. The book offers insights into this population’s unique characterization, prescribing, drug therapy management, drug product development, pharmaceutical dosage form and manufacturing, and a regulatory outlook, as well as future perspectives. This is the first work that focuses exclusively on older patients and their needs in drug therapy and drug product design, and how our collective knowledge on this subject to date can be translated into a comprehensive patient-centric drug product development program.