Older adults use more medicines than younger people and also tend to experience more serious side effects, including death. Yet drug makers often exclude older adults from clinical trials, according to the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen.
In particular, a new analysis of four popular medications often taken by older adults – rosuvastatin (Crestor) for high cholesterol, valsartan (Diovan) for hypertension, risedronate (Actonel) for osteoporosis and pioglitazone (Actos) for diabetes – were tested in clinical studies with significant misrepresentation of adults 65 or older.
The FDA has recommended older adults be represented in drug trials to determine the benefits and risks before the medicine goes on the market, but that step is unenforceable and often ignored, Public Citizen says. The group suggests a combination of laws and regulations – not recommendations – that force drug companies to include older adults in clinical trials.