Although many older patients use analgesics from time to time, little is known about the safety and efficacy of these medicines in older people. The balance between effectiveness and side effects may be totally different from what is expected.
Physiological and pathophysiological changes can cause the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of medicines to change. Drug-drug interactions can enhance or decrease the effects of medicines. In frail older people with multimorbidity and polypharmacy in particular, these changes may lead to a higher risk of side effects and a decline in the analgesic effect.
The vulnerability of many older people means that even when pain is adequately controlled, concomitant side effects of medicines can have a big negative impact on their general functioning.
Pharmacological pain management in older people requires specific competences and knowledge. In this article we present 10 tips for pain management in older people from a pharmacological perspective.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.