Long-term Opioid Use Common in Alzheimer’s Patients, But Not Excessive, Finnish Study Says

Long-term Opioid Use Common in Alzheimer’s Patients, But Not Excessive, Finnish Study Says
A study led by Finnish researchers found that long-term use of opioids, painkillers that can be addictive, is common among people in that country with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but at rates similar to people match by age, gender, and region of residence. The study, “Long-term use of opioids for non-malignant pain among community-dwelling persons with and without Alzheimer's disease in Finland: a nationwide register-based study,” was published online Nov. 4 in journal Pain. Previous research has hinted that long-term use of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines is more common among people with AD. Here, researchers wanted to assess if this trend was also true for opioids. Moreover, the scientists evaluated if transdermal opioids, more commonly used among AD patients, would lead to long-term use more frequently. "Neuropathological research has suggested a diminished perception of chronic pain in persons with AD and, in institutionalized patients with AD, analgesic use for chronic pain has been significantly less frequent compared to cognitively intact persons," the researchers wrote. "However, whether these neuropathological changes translate to less frequent long-term opioid use for non-malignant pain among community-dwelling persons with AD is yet to be resolved." Investigators looked at 62,074 individuals in the Medication Use and Alzheimer’s Disease (MEDALZ) study, which included all community-dwellers diagnosed with Alz
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.