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Older Australians overusing common pain relievers

Older Australians are being prescribed pain relievers for an average of five years when clinical guidelines recommend short-term use, a new study shows.

Researchers tracked the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, in 1,700 Australian men aged 70 years and over.

They found that while guidelines recommend the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) together with an NSAID, only 25% of regular NSAIDs users reported PPIs use.

Led by University of Sydney’s Dr Danijela Gnjidic, the researchers found regular NSAID users were more likely to report chronic or recent pain and to take other potentially harmful interacting drugs. Overuse of the drug has been linked to risks of ulceration and bleeding, elevated blood pressure, stroke and worsening heart failure.

The findings highlight the need for health practitioners to determine more effective strategies in ensuring the safe use of prescription medications among old people.

Read more at University of Sydney

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