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Pain med use varies in hospice care
Control of pain is a key focus for end-of-life providers but a recent study shows that medications used to control pain differ widely from hospice to hospice.
In a study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, researchers evaluated the use of five medication classes to determine trends in the use of pain medications.1
The use of opiates, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), adjuvant pain medications (tricyclics and antiseizure), stimulants, and anti-anxiety medications were studied. Researchers looked for trends in use based upon patient characteristics and location of care, such as inpatient hospice versus home care. Findings showed that medication use was not predicted by patient characteristic or location of care. Use of all medications decreased with age, and medication use varied between sites. Opiate use ranged from 14% to 83%, NSAIDS use ranged from 0% to 40%, benzodiazepine use ranged from 20% to 69%, and adjuvant medication use ranged from 0% to 25%.
1. Zerzan J, Benton K, Linnebur S, et al. Variation in pain medication use in end-of-life care. J Palliat Med 2010; 13:501-504.