Saturday March 23, 2019

Opioid Use Linked To Increased Risk of Falls, Death In Older Adults

Opioid use may increase risk of falls, death in elderly

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The researchers describe 'Ankrd16' as
Old Woman. pixabay

Older adults who use opioids for pain relief may be at an increased risk of falling as well as deaths, according to researchers.

Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in older adults. However, evidence for a link between opioid use and falls is inconsistent, the researcher said.

The findings showed that patients with opioid intake were 2.4 times more likely to have a fall causing injury.

“The study confirms an association between recent opioid use and fall-related injury in a large trauma population of older adults,” said Raoul Daoust from the Universite de Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

Patients whose falls were linked to opioid use were also more likely to die during their hospital stay, the researchers said.

Representational image for elders.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Physicians should be aware that prescribing opioids to older patients is not only associated with an increased risk of falls but also if these patients do fall, a higher in-hospital mortality rate,” Daoust noted.

The study, published in the journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), included data on 67,929 patients aged 65 and older who were admitted for injury to one of 57 trauma centres.

Also Read: Drinking Water Boosts Mental Skills in Elders Who Exercise

The mean age of patients was 81 years, and the majority, 69 per cent, were women.

Falls were the most common cause of injury (92 per cent of patients), and more than half (59 per cent) had surgery for their injuries, with lengthy hospital stays (median stay of 12 days).  IANS

Next Story

New Blood Test For Pain May Help Combat Opioid Epidemic

"We have developed a prototype for a blood test that can objectively tell doctors if the patient is in pain, and how severe that pain is," Alexander Niculescu, Professor of Psychiatry at Indiana University, said.

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"We have developed a prototype for a blood test that can objectively tell doctors if the patient is in pain, and how severe that pain is," Alexander Niculescu, Professor of Psychiatry at Indiana University, said. Pixabay

A one-of-its-kind blood test to measure pain in patients could open the door to precision medicine and help stem the tide of the opioid crisis, say researchers.

Until now, to assess pain – a subjective sensation – doctors had to rely on patients self-reporting or the clinical symptoms.

But the novel blood test can help objectively determine how severe a patient’s pain is, allowing physicians far more accuracy in treating it.

“We have developed a prototype for a blood test that can objectively tell doctors if the patient is in pain, and how severe that pain is,” Alexander Niculescu, Professor of Psychiatry at Indiana University, said.

BLOOD
“The biomarker is like a fingerprint, and we match it against this database and see which compound would normalise the signature,” Niculescu said. Pixabay

With an opioid epidemic raging, Niculescu said never has there been a more important time to administer drugs to patients responsibly.

“The opioid epidemic occurred because addictive medications were overprescribed as there was no objective to measure whether someone was in pain, or how severe their pain was,” Niculescu said, in a paper detailed in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

In addition to providing an objective measure of pain, the blood test helps physicians match the biomarkers in the patient’s blood with potential treatment options.

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Until now, to assess pain – a subjective sensation – doctors had to rely on patients self-reporting or the clinical symptoms. VOA

The researchers utilise a prescription database to match the pain biomarkers with profiles of drugs and natural compounds catalogued in the database.

“The biomarker is like a fingerprint, and we match it against this database and see which compound would normalise the signature,” Niculescu said.

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“We have been able to match biomarkers with existing medications, or natural compounds, which would reduce or eliminate the need to use the opioids.”

Moreover, the team discovered biomarkers that can also help predict when someone might experience pain in the future – helping to determine if a patient is exhibiting chronic, long-term pain, which might result in future emergency room visits. (IANS)