Navigation Link

1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732 mapmap

Access to Care: 1-800-239-2901

Aging & Geriatrics
Basic InformationLatest News
Is Apathy an Early Sign of Dementia?Older Patients at Risk When Dentists Prescribe OpioidsFall Risk Rises Even in Alzheimer's Early StagesTelehealth Skyrocketing Among Older AdultsWhy Are Dementia Patients Getting Risky Psychiatric Drugs?Can Seniors Handle Results of Alzheimer's Risk Tests?Telemedicine Is Here: Experts Offer Tips for SeniorsMany Older Adults Can't Connect With Telehealth: StudyMore Education May Slow Start of Early-Onset Alzheimer'sWill Your Brain Stay Sharp Into Your 90s? Certain Factors Are KeyMany Americans With Dementia Live in Homes With GunsMiddle-Age Obesity Linked to Higher Odds for Dementia5 Healthy Steps to Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sMillions of Older Americans Can't Get Enough FoodMiddle Age More Stressful Now Than in 1990s: StudyActive Older Vets More Likely to Fall, But Less Likely to Get Hurt: StudyPandemic Adds to Challenge of Caring for Loved One With DementiaRising Number of Older Americans at Risk of Vision LossU.S. Primary Care Docs Unprepared for Surge in Alzheimer's CasesMany Seniors Leave Hospital With New DisabilitiesAgeism Affects People Around the GlobeLife Expectancy in U.S. Increases for First Time in 4 YearsEven 1 Night's Bad Sleep Can Raise Levels of a Brain 'Marker' for Alzheimer'sSeniors Still Wary of Online Reviews When Picking DoctorsMore Doubt That Plaques in the Brain Cause Alzheimer'sCan Air Pollution Take a Toll on Your Memory?Almost Half of Older Americans Fear Dementia, Try Untested Ways to Fight ItPeople Who Can't Read Face 2-3 Times Higher Dementia RiskEducation a Buffer Against Alzheimer's Among Blacks: StudyNumber of Americans With Dementia Will Double by 2040: ReportDon't Forget These Tips to Boost Your MemoryHome-Based Care Teams Offer Help for Those With Dementia
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Elder Care

Older Patients at Risk When Dentists Prescribe Opioids

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Sep 28th 2020

new article illustration

MONDAY, Sept. 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors who take depression and anxiety drugs shouldn't be prescribed opioid painkillers by their dentist because it puts them at increased risk for problems, researchers warn.

They analyzed 2011-15 dental and medical data for 40,800 patients aged 65 and older across the United States. There were 947 emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the 30 days after a dental visit.

One in 10 of those who were prescribed opioids were also using medications that shouldn't be taken with them. These patients were 23% more likely to visit the ER or require hospitalization within a month of the dental visit where they received the opioid prescription, the study found.

The longer they took the painkillers, the greater their risk. Those whose opioid prescription overlapped with their existing non-compatible medication for more than three days were 47% more likely to require some form of acute medical care.

Even though electronic health records have improved in recent years, dentists often don't have their patients' full medication history, and patients may not remember every medication they're taking, the Oregon State University (OSU)researchers noted.

As a result, dentists may inadvertently prescribe painkillers that shouldn't be taken with other medications, especially those that act on the central nervous system.

"There is this unfortunate opportunity for dentists to prescribe opioids for any acute or chronic pain that the elderly adult is having, and it may actually pose dangerous interactions for those other medications they're on and place them at greater risk of 30-day ER visits and cause hospitalizations," said study co-author Jessina McGregor. She is an epidemiologist and associate professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy in Corvallis.

One challenge is that seniors are more likely to take multiple kinds of medication than younger dental patients, and may also metabolize drugs differently because of age and changes in their kidney function, according to McGregor.

The findings suggest dentists should be better integrated into electronic health systems so they have access to patient records, and that patients need to be more aware of the importance of providing an accurate medication history, researchers said.

The authors added that pharmacists should take a more active role in explaining medications and their possible negative interactions to patients.

The findings were recently published in the journal Pharmacotherapy.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about prescription opioids.