Home > Analgesic use by ageing and elderly patients with chronic non-malignant pain: a qualitative study.

Kennedy, Mary-Claire and Cousins, Grainne and Henman, Martin C (2017) Analgesic use by ageing and elderly patients with chronic non-malignant pain: a qualitative study. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 39, (4), pp. 798-807.

External website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC55411...

Background: Analgesics are used in the management of chronic non-malignant pain (CNMP), a condition which is highly prevalent among older adults. CNMP may not only be physically distressing but also complicated by psychosocial and economic factors. An individual's perception and use of analgesics may be influenced by a range of factors such as perceptions of risk or benefits, ability to purchase medication or access to non-pharmacological therapies or specialist care.

Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the perceptions and experiences of analgesics by ageing and elderly individuals with CNMP and identify factors that influence their use.

Setting: Telephone interviews with 28 members of Chronic Pain Ireland aged ≥50. Method In-depth semi-structured interviews; audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed. Main outcome measure Experiences and perceptions of ageing and elderly individuals with CNMP taking analgesics.

Results: A combination of factors specific to the patient and arising from outside influences informed perceptions and experiences of analgesics. Pain severity, perceived efficacy of analgesics, occurrence of adverse-effects and concerns about addiction/dependence were identified as internal factors influencing medication use. External factors included views of family members, access to specialised care and the individual's interaction with healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Conclusion: Individuals with CNMP regard analgesics as an important method for managing pain and are relied upon when other interventions are difficult to access. HCPs in primary care, who are the main point of contact for patients, need to take into account the various factors that may influence analgesic use when consulting with this patient group.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Opioid, Prescription/Over the counter
Intervention Type
Drug therapy
August 2017
Page Range
pp. 798-807

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