Patterns of Drug Use in the Older Chronic Pain Population

Older adults are one of the fastest growing subsets of the U.S. population, and one of the largest groups of chronic pain patients. Although the common perception is that America’s prescription drug misuse concerns should focus on the young, data suggest that older pain patients have the same issues with potential non-adherence and medication misuse as the overall chronic pain population.
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Ameritox researchers presented data in May 2012 at the American Pain Society’s 31st Annual Scientific Meeting, analyzing 725,679 urine drug monitoring samples from chronic pain patients aged 50 and older. Data showed:

  • Almost one-third (31.8 percent) lacked the physician-prescribed pain medication in clinically sampled urine
  • More than a quarter (28 percent) of patients’ samples contained a prescription drug not prescribed by the doctor ordering the monitoring test.

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Patterns of Drug Use in
the Older Chronic Pain Population

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