Anticholinergic drug use has been associated with a risk of central and peripheral adverse effects. There is a lack of information on anticholinergic drug use in persons with diabetes. The aim of this study is to investigate anticholinergic drug use and the association between anticholinergic drug use and self-reported symptoms in older community-dwelling persons with and without diabetes.
The basic population was comprised of Finnish community-dwelling primary care patients aged 65 and older. Persons with diabetes were identified according to the ICD-10 diagnostic codes from electronic patient records. Two controls adjusted by age and gender were selected for each person with diabetes. This cross-sectional study was based on electronic primary care patient records and a structured health questionnaire. The health questionnaire was returned by 430 (81.6%) persons with diabetes and 654 (73.5%) persons without diabetes. Data on prescribed drugs were obtained from the electronic patient records. Anticholinergic drug use was measured according to the Anticholinergic Risk Scale. The presence and strength of anticholinergic symptoms were asked in the health questionnaire.
The prevalence of anticholinergic drug use was 8.9% in the total study cohort. There were no significant differences in anticholinergic drug use between persons with and without diabetes. There was no consistent association between anticholinergic drug use and self-reported symptoms.
There is no difference in anticholinergic drug use in older community-dwelling persons with and without diabetes. Anticholinergic drug use should be considered individually and monitored carefully.
To present the occurrence, characteristics, etiology, interference, and medication of chronic pain among the elderly living independently at home.
A total of 460 subjects in three cohorts aged 75, 80 and 85 years respectively received visits by communal home-care department nurses for a cross-sectional survey. Of them, 175 had chronic (duration = 3 months) pain with an average intensity of = 4/10 and/or = moderate interference in daily life.
Clinical assessment was performed for consenting subjects to define the location, intensity, etiology, type, interference and medications of chronic pain.
According to home visits, elderly people with chronic pain rated their health and mobility worse and felt sadder, lonelier and more tired than those without chronic pain. A geriatrician made clinical assessments for 106 patients with chronic pain in 2009-2013. Of them, 66 had three, 35 had two and 5 had one pain condition. The worst pain was musculoskeletal in 88 (83%) of patients. Pain was pure nociceptive in 61 (58%), pure neuropathic in 9 (8%), combined nociceptive and neuropathic pain in 34 (32%), and idiopathic in 2 (2%) patients. On a numerical rating scale from 0 to 10, the mean and maximal intensity of the worst pain was 5.7 and 7.7, respectively, while the mean pain interference was 5.9. Mean pain intensity and maximal pain intensity decreased by age. Duration of pain was longer than 5 years in 51 (48%) patients. Regular pain medication was used by 82 (77%) patients, most commonly paracetamol or NSAIDs. Although pain limited the lives of the elderly with chronic pain, they were as satisfied with their lives as those without chronic pain.
Elderly people in our study often suffered from chronic pain, mostly musculoskeletal pain, and the origin of pain was neuropathic in up to 40% of these cases. However, elderly people with chronic pain rarely used the medications specifically for neuropathic pain. Based on increased loneliness, sadness and tiredness, as well as decreased subjective health and mobility, the quality of life was decreased among those with chronic pain compared with those without pain. KEY POINTS It is known that chronic pain is one of the most common reasons for general practice consultations and is more common in women than men. In our study using detailed clinical examinations, up to 40% of patients with chronic pain in cohorts aged 75, 80 and 85 years suffered from neuropathic pain. However, only a few elderly people with chronic pain used medications specifically for chronic pain, which may be due to side effects or non-willingness to experiment with these drugs. Elderly people with chronic pain rated their health and mobility to be worse and felt sadder, lonelier and more tired but were not less satisfied with their lives than those without chronic pain.
To evaluate the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and functional capacity in relation to glycemic control among older home-dwelling primary care patients.
Electronic patient records were used to identify 527 people over 65 years with diabetes. Of these, 259 randomly selected subjects were invited to a health examination and 172 of them attended and provided complete data. The participants were divided into three groups based on the HbA1c: good (HbA1c57mmol/mol (N=29)) glycemic control. HRQoL was measured with the EuroQol EQ-5D questionnaire. Functional and cognitive capacity and mental well-being were assessed with the Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scale, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15).
EQ-5D scores for good, intermediate and poor glycemic control were 0.78; 0.74 and 0.70, p=0.037. Sub-items of mobility (p=0.002) and self-care were the most affected (p=0.031). Corresponding trend was found for IADL, p=0.008. A significant correlation was found between MMSE scores and HbA1c.
Older primary care home-dwelling patients with diabetes and poorer glycemic control have lower functional capacity and HRQoL, especially in regard to mobility and self-care.
Neuropathic pain is more common among older people than in the general population, and the efficacy of medical treatment often remains unsatisfactory.
The aim of this study was to assess the presence, diagnostic certainty, etiology and treatment of neuropathic pain in community-dwelling older people with chronic pain.
Independently living older people aged 75, 80 and 85 years subject to communal preventive home visits with chronic pain were invited to a clinical pain examination by a geriatrician.
Overall, 106 patients consented to participate in the clinical study. Neuropathic pain was diagnosed in 51 (48%) patients, with 75% of pain states definite and 25% probable neuropathic pain. The most common etiology was degenerative disease of the spinal column causing radiculopathy. At the study visit, 11 patients (22% of neuropathic pain patients) were receiving medication that was demonstrated to be effective against neuropathic pain. The geriatrician recommended a trial of a new medicine for 17 patients, but only six continued the medication going forward.
Neuropathic pain was surprisingly common in our cohort. Finding effective pain medication is challenging due to comorbidities, possible side effects, and vulnerability in older age. Other pain management methods should be considered.