Recent opioid use may cause fall-related injury among older patients with trauma

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Recent opioid use may cause fall-related injury among older patients with trauma

In a retrospective cohort of 67,929 patients1, mean age 80.9 years, with injuries (of mixed severity, via different modes – whether from falls or other means), it was found that 4.9% who were previously dispensed opioids had the injury because of a fall, compared to 1.5% who were dispensed opioids, who had an injury because of a reason other than a fall. The injuries were serious with over 50% of the 67,929 requiring surgery.

This finding was independent of the use of antidepressants or benzodiazepines during the previous two weeks.  The numbers needed to harm was 29 prescriptions to be associated with a fall-related trauma.

Prescribers need to be cautious of prescribing opioids in older adults at risk of falls.  

Reference:

  1. Recent opioid use and fall-related injury among older patients with trauma CMAJ 2018  Click here 

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

 
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As published in NZ Doctor 29/08/2018