New research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) suggests opioid use in older adults is associated with an increased risk of falling and a higher risk of death. Previous studies assessing this link have been inconclusive.
The CMAJ study involves 67,929 patients over 65, with an average age of 81, who were admitted for injuries to one of 57 trauma centers in Quebec. Of the study participants, 69 percent were women, 92 percent had fallen, and 59 percent required surgery and a lengthy hospital stay (an average of 12 days) for their injuries.
According to researchers, older adults who had filled an opioid prescription within two weeks of their injury were 2.4 times more likely to have been injured in a fall. They also were more likely to die during their hospital stay then those who did not take opioids.