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Prescription opioids among older adults : ten years of data across five countries

Prescription opioids among older adults : ten years of data across five countries

Title: Prescription opioids among older adults : ten years of data across five countries
Author: Hamina, A.
Muller, A. E.
Clausen, T.
Skurtveit, S.
Hesse, M.
Tjagvad, C.
Thylstrup, B.
Odsbu, I.
Zoega, H.
Jónsdóttir, Harpa Lind
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Date: 2022-05-16
Language: English
Scope: 2021956
Department: Faculty of Medicine
Faculty of Psychology
Series: BMC Geriatrics; 22(1)
ISSN: 1471-2318
DOI: 10.1186/s12877-022-03125-0
Subject: Nordic countries; Older adults; Opioids; Pharmacoepidemiology; Cross-Sectional Studies; Humans; Oxycodone; Analgesics, Opioid/adverse effects; Aged; Drug Prescriptions; Geriatrics and Gerontology
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/3888

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Hamina , A , Muller , A E , Clausen , T , Skurtveit , S , Hesse , M , Tjagvad , C , Thylstrup , B , Odsbu , I , Zoega , H , Jónsdóttir , H L & Taipale , H 2022 , ' Prescription opioids among older adults : ten years of data across five countries ' , BMC Geriatrics , vol. 22 , no. 1 , 429 , pp. 429 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-022-03125-0


Abstract: Background: Opioid use has increased globally in the recent decade. Although pain remains a significant problem among older adults, susceptibility to opioid-related harms highlights the importance of careful opioid therapy monitoring on individual and societal levels. We aimed to describe the trends of prescription opioid utilisation among residents aged ≥65 in all Nordic countries during 2009–2018. Methods: We conducted cross-sectional measurements of opioid utilisation in 2009–2018 from nationwide registers of dispensed drugs in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The measures included annual opioid prevalence, defined daily doses (DDDs) per 1000 inhabitants per day (DIDs), and morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) per user per day. Results: From 2009 to 2018, an average of 808,584 of adults aged ≥65 used opioids yearly in all five countries; an average annual prevalence of 17.0%. During this time period, the prevalence decreased in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden due to declining codeine and/or tramadol use. Iceland had the highest opioid prevalence in 2009 (30.2%), increasing to 31.7% in 2018. In the same period, DIDs decreased in all five countries, and ranged from 28.3 in Finland to 58.5 in Denmark in 2009, and from 23.0 in Finland to 54.6 in Iceland in 2018. MMEs/user/day ranged from 4.4 in Iceland to 19.6 in Denmark in 2009, and from 4.6 in Iceland to 18.8 in Denmark in 2018. In Finland, Norway, and Sweden, MMEs/user/day increased from 2009 to 2018, mainly due to increasing oxycodone utilisation. Conclusions: The stable or decreasing opioid utilisation prevalence among a majority of older adults across the Nordic countries coincides with an increase in treatment intensity in 2009–2018. We found large cross-national differences despite similarities across the countries’ cultures and healthcare systems. For the aged population, national efforts should be placed on improving pain management and monitoring future trends of especially oxycodone utilisation.


Funding Information: This work was supported by the European Commission through the Grant Agreement ID: 773682 (NUTRI2CYCLE project) and by the Agencia de Innovación, Financiación e Internacionalización Empresarial de Castilla y León (Economía circular en el sector agroalimentario ADE_ECOCIR project). Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).

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