Analgesic purchases among older adults: a population-based study

Maiju K. Marttinen, Hannu Kautiainen, Maija Haanpää, Heini Pohjankoski, Jukka Hintikka, Markku J. Kauppi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    4 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Pain is a frequent and inevitable factor affecting the quality of life among older people. Several studies have highlighted the ineffectiveness of treating chronic pain among the aged population, and little is known about the prevalence of analgesics administration among community-dwelling older adults. The objective was to examine older adults’ prescription analgesic purchases in relation to SF-36 pain in a population-based setting. Methods: One thousand four hundred twenty community-dwelling citizens aged 62–86 years self-reported SF-36 bodily pain (pain intensity and pain-related interference) scores for the previous 4 weeks. The Social Insurance Institution of Finland register data on analgesic purchases for 6 months prior to and 6 months after the questionnaire data collection were considered. Special interest was focused on factors related to opioid purchases. Results: Of all participants, 84% had purchased prescription analgesics during 1 year. NSAIDs were most frequently purchased (77%), while 41% had purchased paracetamol, 32% opioids, 17% gabapentinoids, and 7% tricyclic antidepressants. Age made no marked difference in purchasing prevalence. The number of morbidities was independently associated with analgesic purchases in all subjects and metabolic syndrome also with opioid purchases in subjects who had not reported any pain. Discussion: Substantial NSAID and opioid purchases emerged. The importance of proper pain assessment and individual deliberation in terms of analgesic contraindications and pain quality, as well as non-pharmacological pain management, need to be highlighted in order to optimize older adults’ pain management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number256
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Analgesic
    • Elderly
    • NSAID
    • Opioid
    • Pain

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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