Painkillers: In old age, other laws apply

With age, the likelihood of suffering from pain increases. Chronic diseases, an increased risk of falls or altered pain sensation may be the causes of this increase. Pain not only occurs more often with older age, but they often require a different treatment than symptoms that occur at a young age.

Do older people need stronger painkillers?

The reason for this is the metabolism. "While pain management is a robust system that is barely aging, performance in the processing and excretion of nutrients and drugs decreases with age, " explains Drs. Mazen Ottallah-Kolac, pharmacist from Wetzlar. Important functions of organs responsible for the breakdown and excretion of drugs Liver and kidney are limited in age. "For painkillers, a smaller amount of active ingredient is often sufficient to relieve the symptoms just as well and for a long time as in young adults, " says Ottallah-Kolac.

Altered painkiller requirement

Another reason for a change in the need for analgesics is the additionally occurring chronic diseases of older people, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. "The diseases themselves or the medicines needed to treat these diseases have an effect on the efficacy and side effects of analgesics, " says the experienced pharmacist. Often, a suitable preparation must first be found that is compatible with the other medicines.

"More potent opioids are much more effective and tolerated in a low dose than traditional over-the-counter painkillers - especially if they are to be given over a longer period of time, " says Ottallah-Kolac. Opioids are related substances and cause fewer side effects when used properly. "The many different dosage forms, whether drops, tablets or patches, allow a very individual treatment, " emphasizes the Wetzlar pharmacist.


But even with the use of strong painkillers it requires a good fingertip. Doctor and patient have to work together intensively. "Patients should be alert to any changes in therapy and discuss them with the doctor, " advises Ottallah-Kolac. Only then can the optimal treatment be found and regularly adjusted.

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