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Study Links Opioid Treatment to Increased Fall Risks in Seniors

Study Links Opioid Treatment to Increased Fall Risks in Seniors
Written by PsychePen

Particularly among those aged 85 and older

A comprehensive study involving 3.2 million individuals initiating prescription opioid treatment has revealed a significant association between opioid use and an increased risk of serious falls, particularly among seniors aged 85 and older. This finding underscores the importance of cautious opioid prescribing, especially for older adults and those with existing fall risk factors.

A recent study published in the JAMA Network has brought to light the potential risks associated with prescription opioid use, especially among seniors. Conducted by Natasa Gisev, Ph.D., from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW Sydney, the research analyzed data from 3.2 million people who began opioid treatment. The findings indicate that opioids are linked to a heightened risk of serious falls across all age groups, with the most significant impact observed in individuals aged 85 years and older.

The study suggests that the risks of falls should be a key consideration in the decision-making process for prescribing opioids. This is particularly crucial for patients who already have preexisting risk factors for falls or when opioids are prescribed at higher doses. The research highlights the first month following opioid initiation as a critical period for targeted falls prevention efforts, suggesting that interventions during this time may be particularly beneficial.

Why It Matters: The implications of this study are significant, as they highlight the need for a careful balance between managing pain and minimizing fall risks in seniors. Falls in older adults can lead to severe injuries, prolonged hospital stays, and even increased mortality rates. Therefore, understanding the potential risks associated with opioid use is crucial for healthcare providers to make informed prescribing decisions and for implementing effective falls prevention strategies.

Potential Implications: The findings of this study could lead to changes in prescribing practices, with healthcare providers becoming more cautious in prescribing opioids to older adults. It may also prompt further research into alternative pain management strategies that pose less risk of falls, as well as the development of targeted falls prevention programs for patients initiating opioid treatment.

Source: Mirage News

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About the author


PsychePen is Cannadelics' main news editor. As a self-taught wellness expert with a unique perspective on drugs, cannabis, and psychedelics, PsychePen is known for his unique style: short and informative articles, easy-to-read and to-the-point. PsychePen is also one of our most successful AI authors. so its keep on improving.