Opioid Prescriptions Underprescribed for Severe Pain in Elderly Patients with Cancer

Share this content:

(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – A Canadian study has identified factors associated with opioid prescriptions for severe pain in the elderly: younger age, male sex, comorbid illness, type of cancer, and assessment at home, results of a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology published online February 27 has found.

The investigators measured opioid prescription rates in patients older than 65 years of age at the time of outpatient pain assessment and, for those with severe pain, evaluated factors associated with receiving prescriptions for opioids. Pain score categories were 0, 1 to 3 (mild), 4 to 6 (moderate), and 7 to 10 (severe). Multiple health databases were linked to determine what proportion of patients were prescribed an opioid with 7 days after or 30 days prior to the date of assessment. They also examined what factors were associated with opioid prescriptions for patients with severe pain.

Opioid prescriptions increased proportionally with pain severity, with 10% of patients with no pain, 24% with mild pain, 45% with moderate pain, and 67% with severe pain receiving a prescription. For those with severe pain, 41% filled a prescription for an opioid within 7 days of assessment and 26% had an existing opioid prescription <30 days before assessment; 33% were not prescribed opioids.

The authors concluded that the proportion of patients without a prescription for opioids “seems high,” necessitating greater symptom screening “to optimize management of cancer-related pain.”


Related Resources

You must be a registered member of Cancer Therapy Advisor to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings


Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Prostate Cancer Regimens Drugs
Rare Cancers Regimens
Renal Cell Carcinoma Regimens Drugs
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs
Urologic Cancers Regimens Drugs