Pain severity and analgesics use in the community-dwelling older population: a drug utilization study from Germany.Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2020 Jul 10 [Online ahead of print]EJ
Chronic pain is common in the older population and a significant public health concern. However, comprehensive studies on analgesics use in this age group from Germany are scarce. This study aims to give a comprehensive overview on the use of the most common therapeutic groups of analgesics in community-dwelling older adults from Germany.
A cross-sectional study was carried out using data from a German cohort of 2038 community-dwelling adults aged 63-89 years. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were applied to assess the utilization of analgesics by age, sex, pain severity, pain duration, and locations.
One out of four study participants was suffering from high-intensity or disabling pain. Approximately half of those taking analgesics still reported to suffer from high-intensity or disabling pain. Among analgesics users, occasional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) use was the most frequent pain therapy (in 43.6% of users), followed by metamizole (dipyrone) use (16.1%), regular NSAIDs use (12.9%), strong opioids use (12.7%), and weak opioids use (12.0%). In multivariate logistic regression models, higher age, higher pain severity, longer pain duration, abdominal pain, and back pain were statistically significantly associated with opioids use. Metamizole use was also statistically significantly associated with higher pain severity but inversely associated with pain duration.
A significant number of older German adults are affected by high-intensity and disabling chronic pain despite receiving analgesics. Long-term studies are needed to compare the effectiveness and safety of different treatments for chronic pain in older adults.