Choosing an appropriate dosage form of analgesic drug is essential to successfully manage pain in the older patient. Beyond the clinical recommendations, the pharmacist can be instrumental in providing information on products that will optimize pain relief in this patient population.
Simple Analgesics: Acetaminophen is useful for the relief of mild to moderate osteoarthritic pain in scheduled, divided doses not exceeding 4 g/day. NSAIDs may also be used in appropriate doses, for short periods of time.
Selecting an optimal therapy depends on patient-specific criteria, including medical history, previous medications utilized, drug allergies, swallowing ability, and response to therapy. A description of the pain is also useful in determining initial therapy.
Older patients have a variety of chronic illnesses that may result in pain. However, the daily presence of pain often goes unrecognized and, therefore, untreated in both the community-dwelling and institutionalized elderly. Chronic pain may be the result of comorbidities, including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, peripheral vascular disease, or neuropathies secondary to complications of diabetes.