“We chose to focus on older adults because they face an increased risk of experiencing chronic pain and are commonly prescribed opioid medication as a treatment,” mentioned Emmy Betz, MD, MDH, emergency doctor, and researcher on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
“However, it`s known that the side effects of opioid medications can compromise driving abilities, and we wanted to find out more about the current relationship between the two among an older population.” The researchers examined knowledge from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety`s Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) examine, one of many largest and most complete databases obtainable on senior drivers incorporating 2,990 contributors being adopted for 5 years.
Data offered the chance to look at opioid use in a big cohort of older drivers (65 to 79 years previous). More particularly, the purpose of the researchers was to reply three questions via a cross-sectional evaluation of knowledge:
1. The prevalence of opioid use.
2. The prevalence and severity of every day ache.
3. The associations between opioid use, ache ranges and self-reported driving behaviours.
“We`re hoping clinicians will use these findings in their conversations with older patients about opioid use and driving safety,” examine co-author Carolyn DiGuiseppi, MD, PhD, provides.
The researchers discovered that out of the two,949 LongROAD contributors with remedy knowledge, 169 reported at the moment taking an opioid. These contributors had a better self-reported stage of ache prior to now seven days.
It`s famous, there was a 5.four per cent enhance in reported crashes or police motion within the final 12 months among opioid customers versus nonusers.
However, older drivers who reported at the moment taking an opioid had been extra more likely to self- regulate and scale back their driving and to report decrease self-rated driving potential.The knowledge additionally confirmed complicated relationships when checked out via socioeconomic components.
For instance, older adults with decrease incomes had been extra probably to make use of opioids, however this might be as a result of lesser potential to entry different ache management modalities similar to therapeutic massage, bodily remedy and acupuncture.
“It`s encouraging that older adults appear to regulate their driving as a way to mitigate the negative effects of opioid medications,” mentioned Betz. “However, future research should look more closely at socioeconomic factors related to opioid use among older adults, as well as the effects of the painful medical conditions for which the opioids are being taken.”
“The AAA Foundation and the LongROAD research team, which includes the University of Colorado, are working together to improve the safety and mobility of our older drivers,” mentioned Dr David Yang, government director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, including “This multi-year research program ensures we are able to develop effective countermeasures for this population.”