Opioid treatment safer, more effective at managing seniors' pain, guidelines say

Share this article:
Treating seniors' chronic pain with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or cox-2 inhibitors is potentially more dangerous than opioid therapy, according to new pain management guidelines released by the American Geriatrics Society. The practice of using NSAIDs initially should be seriously reduced or eliminated, the guidelines say.

Common NSAIDs and cox-2 inhibitors, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, have long been used in the initial treatment of chronic pain among seniors. Opioids would be prescribed for pain management only after a lengthy course of this treatment. The new guidelines, which will be featured in the August, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, suggest this is a risky strategy, due to potential cardiovascular and gastrointestinal complications for elderly patients. The risks outweigh the benefits, the guidelines say.

All older patients with chronic, persistent pain should be considered for opioid therapies, according to the AGS guidelines. The AGS suggests that new, more fully realized opioid treatments developed recently are likely to be safer over the long term. Guideline authors point out that persistent pain, though common, isn't a normal part of aging, and incorrect treatment can lead to falls, depression, anxiety and other negative health conditions.
Share this article:

More in News

Skilled nursing facilities with poor quality ratings do not readmit more patients to hospitals, researchers find

Skilled nursing facilities with poor quality ratings do ...

Low-quality and high-quality skilled nursing facilities readmit about the same proportion of residents to hospitals, suggest research findings recently published in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

Cipro and related antibiotics increase MRSA risk in long-term care facilities, study ...

Long-term care residents on a fluoroquinolone antibiotic such as Cipro are at an increased risk for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, researchers in France have found.

Jonathan Blum, who oversaw long-term care reforms, resigns as head of Medicare

The nation's top Medicare official, Jonathan Blum, is leaving his post next month, news outlets reported Tuesday. Blum became a familiar figure to long-term care providers through Open Door Forum calls and other outreach efforts during his five-year tenure, as he guided implementation of Medicare ...