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Anticipating and Managing Opioid Side Effects in the Elderly

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Pain is a common complaint in the elderly, and opioids are useful agents for management of both acute and chronic pain. Opioids are known to cause a variety of adverse effects, and these adverse effects can be particularly problematic for the frail elderly patient and may limit their use. As a result, this can lead to undertreatment of pain and poor patient outcome. Understanding, anticipating, and managing opioid side effects is an important component of care for the elderly patient.
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Keywords: AE = Adverse effect; AGS = American Geriatrics Society; Adverse effect; Beers criteria; CNS = Central nervous system; CTZ = Chemoreceptor trigger zone; Constipation; Delirium; Elderly; GI = Gastrointestinal; Gastrointestinal; Medication; Myoclonus; Nausea; Neurotoxicity; Opioid; Pain; Receptor; Respiratory depression; Sedation; Side effect; Vomiting

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-03-01

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  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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