Thursday, May 21, 2009

Opioids May Be Safer Than NSAIDs for Older Chronic Pain Patients


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Perhaps surprisingly, new guidelines from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) say it may be better for older people to take opioids than NSAIDs.

The panel said that the increased cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks associated with both over the counter and prescription NSAIDs tend to outweigh their benefits and that low doses of opioids may be a safer choice for older patients.

The AGS guidelines were written to focus primarily on treatment of patients who are 75 years or older and experiencing chronic pain. Given the reluctance of some physicians to prescribe opioids the AGS hopes these guidelines will reassure them that opioids can be a reasonable option.

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