A study of the entire elderly population of Denmark
BACKGROUND: Pain is believed to be undertreated in patients with dementia; however, no larger studies have been conducted. The aim was to investigate prevalent use of opioids in elderly with and without dementia in the entire elderly population of Denmark. METHOD: A register-based cross-sectional study in the entire elderly (≥65 years) population in 2010 was conducted. Opioid use among elderly with dementia (N = 35,455) was compared with elderly without (N = 870,645), taking age, sex, comorbidity, and living status into account. RESULTS: Nursing home residents (NHRs) used opioids most frequently (41%), followed by home-living patients with dementia (27.5%) and home-living patients without dementia (16.9%). Buprenorphine and fentanyl (primarily patches) were commonly used among NHRs (18.7%) and home-living patients with dementia (10.7%) but less often by home-living patients without dementia (2.4%). CONCLUSIONS: Opioid use in the elderly Danish population was frequent but particularly in patients with dementia and NHR, which may challenge patient safety and needs further investigation.
Alzheimer's and Dementia, 2015, Vol 11, Issue 6, p. 691-699