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Pharmaceutical Interventions for Frailty and Sarcopenia

[ Vol. 20 , Issue. 18 ]


Olga Laosa, Cristina Alonso, Marta Castro and Leocadio Rodriguez-Manas   Pages 3068 - 3082 ( 15 )


Frailty has emerged as one of the most relevant clinical syndromes in older patients. This term relates to the loss of functional reserve that can occur in some older people following exposure to one or more low-intensity stressors placing them at high risk for developing a number of adverse outcomes such as disability, falls, hospitalization and death. Frailty is the outcome of two combined effects: the ageing process and other superimposed injuries like chronic disease or, indeed, psychological and social stressors. The mechanisms leading to frailty typically involve several systems: mainly hormones, oxidative stress, inflammation, immunity, and vascular system. One of the most outstanding pillars of the frailty syndrome is the loss of muscle quantity and function, referred to as sarcopenia. The main bulk of experimental pharmacological interventions addressing the clinical problem of frailty have been focused on the use of hormones, as replacement therapy in subjects with low or normal circulating basal levels of the hormone. Results have been disappointing, except for the case of testosterone that have shown some benefits. The effectiveness of other potential therapeutic interventions (antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, nutritional supplements) appears to be limited or has not been explored in detail until now. In conclusion, there is an available path to prevent the development of disability in older people through the treatment of frailty, its main risk factor. Aditional research and further experimental testing will help to identify new targets and help to make this journey successful.


Frailty, concept, pathophysiology, pharmacological targets, treatment, RCTs.


, , , Sº de Geriatria, Hospital Universitario de Getafe, Ctra. de Toledo, Km. 12,5, 28905-GETAFE, Spain.

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