The Beers List, sometimes referred to as the Beers criteria, was developed by a group of 12 clinicians with expertise in geriatrics and led by Dr. Mark Beers. First released in 1991, the Beers List was initially created to help clinicians determine which medications should be avoided in nursing home patients since seniors in nursing homes are particularly at risk for suffering medication-related problems. Since then, the Beers List has been updated twice with the latest revision released in 2003. The List has been broadened to encompass potentially inappropriate medications for the senior population regardless of where they reside or receive care. In addition, the List has been divided into two primary groups: a list of medications considered potentially inappropriate independent of diseases/conditions and a list of medications considered potentially inappropriate when used in seniors with certain diseases or conditions.
Over the years, the List has undergone controversy and debate given its development through expert consensus and concerns that the list might be universally applied to all seniors without careful consideration of an individual’s response to a particular medication. Nevertheless, the Beers List has proved to have far-reaching applications and has been used by health care professionals, regulators, and researchers internationally. For example, much of the 1997 version of the Beers List was incorporated into the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Interpretive Guidelines for Long-Term Care Facilities to evaluate a nursing home’s compliance with medication-related regulations. When the CMS Interpretive Guidelines were revised in 2006, Beers medications were incorporated into the reference tables, although clearly delineated as "Beers medications" as in the past.
Criteria Revised in 2012
In 2011, the American Geriatrics Society undertook a review and revision of the Beers criteria. The updated and revised Beers criteria were released by AGS on March 1, 2012 and they are now available on the AGS Web site.
The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) is dedicated to providing pharmacists with the information necessary to facilitate appropriate and effective use of medications in the senior population. For that reason, ASCP has compiled resources and links to provide members information about the Beers List.
The following links are available to ASCP members on the members-only Beers page.
You can also take the following course in our online ASCP Professional Development CEnter.
New : Published August 2009: Beers criteria article Preferred Medications in the Elderly