Opioids, Benzodiazepines and the Elderly: A pocket guide

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Opioids and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a major cause of disability in the elderly. According to the POWER study (a review of the health status of women in Ontario), 31% of women aged 75 and older are limited in their activities of daily living because of arthritis-related pain. Unfortunately, treatment options are limited. NSAIDs must be prescribed with caution, and physicians are reluctant to prescribe opioids because of an increased risk of falls and sedation. But opioids have an important role to play in therapy. Elderly patients with severe biomedical pain conditions often respond very well to low doses of opioids. They are at low risk for opioid addiction, and falls and sedation can be minimized with careful titration.

You should not rely on this pocket tool for financial or legal advice. It provides general information only. NICE is not responsible for any use of the information other than for general educational/informational purposes and no claim can be made against NICE or any of its personnel for any such use.
National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE)
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Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V4, Canada