Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Including older people in clinical research

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 03 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1036

Rapid Response:

Extrapolation of trial results

I was delighted to read in McMurdo et al's article that "it cannot be
assumed that the benefits to younger patients enrolled in trials can be
extrapolated to frail older people". I have lost count of the number of
times I admit patients on a vast stream of medications with no proven
benefits in the elderly. Given the increased tendency to side-effects and
multiple co-morbidities the elderly are a group deserving of special
attention. Should eighty five year olds with ischaemic heart disease be
started on beta blockers, aspirin and statins? What is the potential
increase in longevity? Surely this needs further study with an ageing

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

04 November 2005
Ellis R Muggleton
Intensive Care Registrar
Lismore, NSW, 2478