Management of persistent pain in the older people

Hall, Anthony (2016) Management of persistent pain in the older people. Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, 46(1), pp. 60-67.

View at publisher


Persistent pain is a commonly experienced symptom. It affects 25% of community-dwelling older adults and up to 80% of nursing home residents, and can have a major impact on quality of life and functional capacity. Unfortunately pain in older patients is often undertreated and misunderstood. Assessment of pain type and severity is important. Most older people, even with moderately impaired cognition, are able to self-report pain. Validated assessment tools using non-verbal pain cues are available for people with more advanced cognitive impairment. Management of pain in older people can be challenging. Physiological changes may impact on pain perception and the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of medications. Older people are often more sensitive to the adverse effects of analgesic medications and are at risk of drug–drug interactions due to the presence of co-morbidities and polypharmacy. In general, analgesic medications should be commenced at low doses, titrated based on effect and tolerability, and regularly reviewed. Contemporary pain management often utilises multiple analgesics in lower doses to optimise efficacy and avoid dose-related toxicity. A bio-psycho-social approach to the management of persistent pain, utilising a multidisciplinary team and including non-drug strategies, may produce the best results. The goal of pain management is not always to eliminate pain, since this may not be attainable, but rather to enhance function and improve quality of life. This article discusses persistent non-cancer pain in older people, its assessment and management, and the risks and benefits of pharmacological treatment in this population.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

5 since deposited on 13 May 2016
3 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 95552
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Persistent Pain, Older Person
DOI: 10.1002/jppr.1194
ISSN: 1445-937X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PHARMACOLOGY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES (111500) > Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (111502)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia
Deposited On: 13 May 2016 00:35
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2017 21:55

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page