Research Roundup

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Debbie Rigby rounds up the latest in research news

The dispensing of psychotropic medicines to older people before and during they enter residential aged care

Analysis of dispesning data of over 320,000 aged care residents shows 21.3% are prescribed at least one antipsychotic, 30.5% at least one benzodiazepine and nearly 40% at least one antidepressant during the first three months of residential care. The authors support non-pharmacological strategies and interventions that target prescribing of psychotropic medicines before and during the transition to residential aged care.

Medical Journal of Australia 2020.

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What proportion of patients with chronic noncancer pain are prescribed an opioid medicine?

A systematic review and meta‐regression of 42 observational studies with over 5 million patients demonstrates that 30.7% of patients with chronic noncancer pain are prescribed opioids. Strong opioids were more frequently prescribed than weak opioids (e.g. codeine).

Journal of Internal Medicine, first published 25 February 2020.


A systematic review of the evidence for the efficacy of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain in community-dwelling older adults

A systematic review of 7 studies shows limited evidence supporting the use of long-term opioid use in older people (aged 65 years or more) for chronic non-cancer pain. The majority of older people experienced ongoing pain despite continuing opioid therapy. In nursing home residents, opioid use at baseline was associated with severe pain, severe impairment in activities of daily living and a diagnosis of depression.

Age and Ageing 2020;49(2):175-183.


Effectiveness of interventions on the appropriate use of opioids for noncancer pain among hospital inpatients

A systematic review of 37 articles has concluded that interventions involving academic detailing and education, especially when reinforced by feedback, show positive effects on appropriate opioid use among hospital inpatients. Health provider education, reinforced by hard‐copy material and feedback, was associated with a 13.0 to 29.5% increase in the proportion of opioid prescriptions written in concordance with local guidelines and reduced pain scores ranging from 7.0 to 34.5%.

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2020;86(2):210243.

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