Introduction Analgesics such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), weak and strong opioids are commonly used among elderly persons. The aim of this study was to describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of elderly analgesic users and to measure the frequency of analgesic use, including the frequency of potentially inappropriate analgesic use. Methods The Arianna database was used to carry out this study. This database contains prescription data with associated indication of use for 1,076,486 inhabitants registered with their general practitioners (GPs) in the Caserta Local Health Unit (Caserta district, Campania region in Italy). A cohort of persons aged ≥65 years old with >1 year of database history having at least one analgesic drug (NSAIDs, strong or weak opioids) between 2010 and 2014 were identified. The date of the first analgesic prescription in the study period was considered the index date (ID). Results From a source population of 1,076,486 persons, 116,486 elderly persons were identified. Of these, 94,820 elderly persons received at least one analgesic drug: 36.6% were incident NSAID users (N = 36,629), while 13.2% were incident weak opioid users (N = 12,485) and 8.1% were incident strong opioid users (N = 7,658). In terms of inappropriate analgesic use, 9.2% (N = 10,763) of all elderly users were prescribed ketorolac/indomethacin inappropriately, since these drugs should not be prescribed to elderly persons. Furthermore, at least half all elderly persons with chronic kidney disease or congestive heart failure were prescribed NSAIDs, while these drugs should be avoided. Conclusion Analgesics are commonly used inappropriately among elderly persons, suggesting that prescribing practice in the catchment area may yet be improved.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Ingrasciotta, Y, Sultana, J, Giorgianni, F, Menditto, E. (Enrica), Scuteri, A, Tari, M.G, … Trifirò, G. (2019). Analgesic drug use in elderly persons: A population-based study in Southern Italy. PLoS ONE, 14(9). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0222836