Elderly Patients Less Likely To Receive Pain Medication In ER

Compared to middle-aged emergency room patients, adults over the age of 75 are much less likely to receive pain medication, even when in severe pain. Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine looked at data collected from American emergency rooms between 2003 and 2009 and found patients between the ages of 35 and 54 received pain medication more often than elderly patients. Nearly 80 percent of middle-aged patients complaining of severe pain were given medication, while just 67 percent of older patients were given medication to relieve their pain. Timothy F. Platts-Mills, MD, lead author of the study, said they don’t know why this is, though it may be because physicians are more concerned about side effects in older patients. Platts-Mills said the study highlights the need to better understand how to best manage pain in elderly patients. More here.

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