The very old and the very young are liable to be intolerant of many drugs, largely because the mechanisms for disposing of them in the body are less efficient. The young, it has been aptly said, are not simply 'small adults' and 'respect for their pharmacokinetic variability should be added to the list of our senior citizens' rights'.8 The old are also frequently exposed to multiple drug therapy which predisposes to adverse effects (see Prescribing for the elderly, p. 126).

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