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Medical News & Perspectives
October 22/29, 2014

Analysis Reveals Large Increase in Hospitalizations in Recent Years Among Older Patients Prescribed Opioids

JAMA. 2014;312(16):1621-1623. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.13249

A government “statistical brief” on opioid-related hospitalizations didn’t get much press coverage when it was posted in August, but at least a few findings merit a closer look.

The report, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), focused on trends in hospitalization of adults related to use of prescription opioid painkillers (not illicit drugs) during 1993 to 2012 (http://1.usa.gov/1oR7djI). It found that the biggest jump in the rate of such hospitalizations during that period was in people 85 years or older, followed close behind by 65- to 84-year-olds and 45- to 64-year-olds.

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