A study to be presented at this week’s Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Texas has found statistically significant links between self-reported regular use of prescription drugs for pain and/or sleep, and longitudinal risk of frailty in adults ages 65 and older. The research conducted by researchers from the Oregon Research Institute (ORI) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has been published online in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

The study found over eight years of follow-up that those who self-reported regular use of prescription drugs for pain and sleep had a 95% increased risk of frailty compared to those who did not report regular use of these drugs. For regular prescription drug use for pain only or for sleep only, the increased risks were 58% and 35%, respectively.

Co-authors Gulcan Cil, PhD, associate scientist, ORI, Juyoung Park, PhD, associate professor in FAU’s Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within the College for Design and Social Inquiry, and senior scientist Andrew Bergen, Ph.D., ORI, analysed data from the Health & Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative longitudinal cohort of older Americans. For their analysis, they selected a large cohort (N=7201) of community-living non-frail older adults (age 65 to 104, mean 72, median 70) from the HRS. Analyses were adjusted for demographics and other drug use.

“Co-use of multiple prescription medications is a growing phenomenon, especially among older adults,” said Park. “Geriatric medicine societies, including the American Geriatric Society, have developed guidelines to help prescribers avoid potentially inappropriate prescribing or PIP, which requires assessment of several types of PIP, including the benefits and risks associated with certain drug classes.”

“Our study shows that regular self-reported use and co-use of prescription drugs for pain and for sleep are significantly associated with increased incidence of frailty,” said Bergen. “We recommend further research to estimate the frailty risk of pain and sleep measures and of prescription pain and sleep drugs.”

Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-11/ori-ruo111319.php

Reference: Cil G, et al. Self-Reported
Prescription Drug Use for Pain and for Sleep and Incident Frailty. Journal of
the American Geriatric Society
. Published online 14 November 2019. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jgs.16214?referrer_access_token=mXKSSg5rlNldNZVG6BeG8Ita6bR2k8jH0KrdpFOxC64ZtdHEGGN2uxwjgZc6CxCfdmOMpNx4tEx8xus2KFOXk085M9ixTX544Mz2Ye5MocDNu-9IU0OuNHs4iy4gVYsvYLEssDdefqsiNwpxvZTtbA%3D%3D