One in seven nursing home residents receive long-term opioids prescriptions

A study, published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, examined opioid use among older adults in nursing homes.

Researchers studied 315,949 long-stay nursing home resident Medicare beneficiaries between April 1, 2012, and June 30, 2012, with 120 days of follow up. They used Medicare Part D claims to measure length of opioid use in the 120 days from the initial assessment as well as adjuvants and other pain medications.

Of 315,949 study subjects, 32.4 percent were prescribed opioids and 15.5 percent were prescribed opioids for long term use. Opioid users were more commonly prescribed pain adjuvants, other pain medications and nonpharmacological pain management as compared to nonusers.

Additionally, the study shows long-term opioid use was higher in women and lower in racial and ethnic minorities as well as those with severe cognitive impairment.

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