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Date of Original Version



Pharmacy Practice


Objective: We estimated the use of prescribed analgesics and adjuvants among nursing home residents without cancer who reported pain at their admission assessment, in relation to resident-reported pain severity.

Methods: Medicare Part D claims were used to define 3 classes of analgesics and 7 classes of potential adjuvants on the 21st day after nursing home admission (or the day of discharge for residents discharged before that date) among 180,780 residents with complete information admitted between January 1, 2011 and December 9, 2016, with no cancer diagnosis.

Results: Of these residents, 27.9% reported mild pain, 46.6% moderate pain, and 25.6% reported severe pain. The prevalence of residents in pain without Part D claims for prescribed analgesic and/or adjuvant medications was 47.3% among those reporting mild pain, 35.7% among those with moderate pain, and 24.8% among those in severe pain. Among residents reporting severe pain, 33% of those ≥ 85 years of age and 35% of those moderately cognitively impaired received no prescription analgesics/adjuvants. Use of all classes of prescribed analgesics and adjuvants increased with resident-reported pain severity, and the concomitant use of medications from multiple classes was common.

Conclusion: Among nursing home residents with recognized pain, opportunities to improve the pharmacologic management of pain, especially among older residents, and those living with cognitive impairments exist.

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