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Speaker at Pharmaceutics and Novel Drug Delivery Systems 2023 - Hana Hassan
University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Title : Limiting factors in implementing pharmacovigilance principles in the elderly


The overarching aim of pharmacovigilance is to ensure the safe and effective usage of medication across the population and optimise medicines through holistic considerations. However, within the heterogeneous elderly population, a number of unique factors are at play, limiting the ability of clinicians to fulfill this aim.  A matured physiology influencing the response and effects of drugs, increased polypharmacy enabling drug-drug interactions and greater consumption of concurrent herbal medicines predispose patients to harmful drug events. This increasingly multi-morbid subpopulation requires complex pharmaceutical regimens to reduce inappropriate prescribing and medicine non-adherence leading to sub-optimal therapy. Drugs are often developed, optimized and delivered with the average person in mind, leaving the prerequisites of an elderly population commonly neglected despite a disproportionate consumption of medication by this age group. Furthermore, restrictive practices in clinical trials commonly exclude elderly patients creating disparities from expected findings within a real-world setting. These issues create an environment where elderly patients are at heightened risk of ADEs and clinicians are forced to make significant decisions from limited information. The projected growth of the elderly demographic paints an upward spiral for polypharmacy, suboptimal therapy and increased mortality as a result of ADEs. Thus, we must not only recognize current limiting factors but also create actionable Initiatives concerning multiple parties in order to achieve safer and more effective therapies for our future elderly population. 


Hana is a third-year medical student, currently studying at the University of Bristol. She has a strong interest in academia and research and is currently a part of a research group working to publish two papers in the upcoming year. She also has an interest in paediatrics and works part-time, alongside her studies in a children’s hospital to gain more experience, as well as volunteering with young people affected by youth violence. Hana is hoping to complete an intercalated research master's after her third year of Medicine in order to dedicate more time to her research.