Constipation is a common complaint, especially in older adults. It results in millions of physician visits per year, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on laxatives. Untreated it can lead to serious morbidity and can be a contributing factor in mortality. A rational approach to the patient presenting with constipation includes a detailed history, general and focused physical examination, specific investigations, and appropriate therapy. Treatment should aim to address the underlying cause, as should the choice of laxative. In general, it is best to clear out hard stool in the distal bowel before using an aggressive oral regimen.
Key words: constipation, laxatives, older adults, opioids.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that can significantly impact older patients’ quality of life. Although there are many pharmacologic options to treat PD, the clinician needs to know the indications and potential adverse effects of new medications in the older patient population. Carbidopa/levodopa remains the gold standard for treatment, and new formulations and levodopa-extenders fill specific niches. This article reviews the pros and cons of these medications in older PD patients, and demonstrates therapeutic strategies through case presentations.
Key words: Parkinson’s disease, treatment, levodopa, COMT inhibitor, aging.
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