Opioids for persistent pain in older adults

2016 Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine  
Older adults compose a large portion of patients with persistent pain. Opioid analgesics are widely used to treat acute and persistent pain in cancer and end-of-life care, but their use in other types of persistent pain in older adults is controversial. Clinicians and regulators must work together, balancing the legitimate medical need for opioids while acknowledging increasing opioid misuse and morbidity and mortality related to opioids. KEY POINTS Treatment of persistent pain in older adults
more » ... resents several challenges. Often, persistent pain is underrecognized and undertreated, impairing function and reducing quality of life. A combination of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic strategies is needed to address the multiple factors contributing to pain and manage it effectively. The World Health Organization's three-step ladder is valuable for treating persistent pain in older adults. Although nonopioids are the first-line treatments for persistent pain, opioids are also important to provide safe and effective pain management in older adults.
doi:10.3949/ccjm.83a.15023 pmid:27281257 fatcat:sjoindqbxzdzvg7haecrcaqesi