Department of Economics and Business Economics

Frequent use of opioids in patients with dementia and nursing home residents: A study of the entire elderly population of Denmark

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BACKGROUND: Pain is believed to be undertreated in patients with dementia; however, no larger studies have been conducted. The aim was to investigate prevalent use of opioids in elderly with and without dementia in the entire elderly population of Denmark.

METHOD: A register-based cross-sectional study in the entire elderly (≥65 years) population in 2010 was conducted. Opioid use among elderly with dementia (N = 35,455) was compared with elderly without (N = 870,645), taking age, sex, comorbidity, and living status into account.

RESULTS: Nursing home residents (NHRs) used opioids most frequently (41%), followed by home-living patients with dementia (27.5%) and home-living patients without dementia (16.9%). Buprenorphine and fentanyl (primarily patches) were commonly used among NHRs (18.7%) and home-living patients with dementia (10.7%) but less often by home-living patients without dementia (2.4%).

CONCLUSIONS: Opioid use in the elderly Danish population was frequent but particularly in patients with dementia and NHR, which may challenge patient safety and needs further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlzheimer's & Dementia
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Campus adgang til artiklen / Campus access to the article

    Research areas

  • Dementia, Opioids, Elderly, Buprenorphine, Fentanyl, Pain

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