Prevalence and persistent use of analgesic drugs in older adults receiving domiciliary care at baseline - a longitudinal study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionHealth Science Reports. 2021, 4 (3), . 10.1002/hsr2.316
Aims To describe the prevalence and persistence of analgesic drug use (opioids and antipyretics [ie, paracetamol and acetylsalicylic acid]) in participants (≥70 years) with and without dementia receiving domiciliary care in the eastern part of Norway. In addition, to explore factors associated with persistent drug use and examine whether drug use has changed after admission to a nursing home. Methods A longitudinal study with 1001 participants (mean [SD] age 83.4 [5.7] years) receiving domiciliary care. Medical information including analgesic drug use was collected at baseline (A1) between August 2008 and December 2010, follow-up assessments after 18 (A2) and 36 months (A3). Analgesic drugs prescribed for regular use were recorded from the participants' medical records. The participants' cognitive and physical health was evaluated at all assessments. Level of care (domiciliary care or nursing home care) was recorded at A2 and A3. Generalized linear mixed models were used to examine the prevalence and persistence of analgesic drug use. Results The prevalence of prescribed use of antipyretics and opioids was 13.6% and 9.2%, respectively. Participants with dementia had more frequent use of antipyretics in all assessments and opioids in the last assessment than participants without dementia. Persistent use of both antipyretics and opioids was high between two consecutive assessments, both for participants with and without dementia. Persistent use of analgesics was associated with poorer physical functioning, but not by level of care. Overall, there was no difference between those admitted to a nursing home and those receiving domiciliary care at follow-up, with respect to change in analgesic drug use over time. Conclusion The prevalence and persistent use of analgesics were high in older adults receiving domiciliary care at baseline and especially in participants with dementia. A holistic approach and interdisciplinary collaboration are essential to effectively assess and treat pain in older adults.