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Abuse of Opioids and Prescription Medications 

Abuse of Opioids and Prescription Medications
Abuse of Opioids and Prescription Medications

Isis Burgos-Chapman

, Louis A. Trevisan

, and Kevin Sevarino

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date: 13 June 2021

This chapter reviews an under-recognized aspect of geriatrics. The elderly population is growing in number, as is the proportion of aging baby-boomers at high risk for pain medication misuse and opioid use disorders. Given the widespread use of opioids in pain management, one can expect that problems with opioid use will increase among the elderly in the coming years. We describe the magnitude of the problem and discuss the importance of risk-stratification to identify which older patients are at elevated risk to develop problems with opioids. We examine the role of opioids in chronic pain treatment and the pitfalls of their use in the elderly. Finally, we provide general guidelines for the treatment of pain medication misuse and/or an opioid use disorder in the elderly. Opioid medication misuse and use disorders should be on every practitioner’s radar as a possible reason for problems surfacing in the elderly patient.

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