Central nervous system depressant medications (CNSDs) such as opioid analgesics and sedative-hypnotics are commonly prescribed to older patients for the treatment of chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia. Yet, while many studies reported potential harms, it remains unknown whether persistent use of these medications is beneficial for older patients' self-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The present study clarified this knowledge gap through comparing HRQoL of hospitalized older patients with versus without using CNSD drugs for =4?weeks. Moreover, we explored the relationship between such use and HRQoL, adjusting for the effects of polypharmacy, comorbidity burden and other clinically relevant covariates.
The study was cross-sectional and included 246 older patients recruited consecutively from somatic departments of a large regional university hospital in Norway. We defined prolonged CNSD use as using opioids, benzodiazepines and/or z-hypnotics for =4?weeks. Patients' self-reported HRQoL were measured with scales of the EuroQol EQ-5D-3L instrument. Data analyses were mainly descriptive statistics and regression models.
Patients with prolonged use of CNSDs reported lower scores on both EQ-5D index and EQ VAS compared with those without such use (p?