Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pain often untreated in elderly with dementia

Many older adults with dementia and pain don't receive adequate drug treatment for their pain, according to a study.

Researchers who reviewed the patient records of 115 adults with dementia living in the community found that more than half (54 percent) reported noncancer-related pain "on an average day."

The caregivers of more than half of these subjects reported no use of pain medication. Of the subjects who did use a painkiller, most were taking typical over-the-counter analgesics and none were prescribed a strong prescription opioid.

Forty-six percent of all subjects had "potentially insufficient analgesia," report Dr. Joseph W. Shega, of Northwestern University, Chicago, and colleagues in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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