Article by Dena Bunis, AARP.

“An overwhelming majority of Americans 50 and older support limiting the number of opioid pills patients are prescribed at one time, according to a new University of Michigan/AARP survey. Fewer than half of those responding to the poll reported discussing the risks of painkiller addiction with their doctors, and even fewer received counseling from their pharmacists.

More than 1 in 4 older adults (29 percent) said they filled a prescription for an opioid medication in the past two years, most for arthritis-related pain, back pain or recovery from an injury or surgery. The survey was part of the National Poll on Healthy Aging, sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center.

“While we don’t know why these discussions aren’t taking place, the poll results should provide encouragement for physicians and pharmacists to routinely discuss these and other safety issues with every patient who gets a prescription for opioids,” says Preeti Malani, poll director and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Even though the results pointed to the need for more consultation between doctors and their patients about the risks and side effects of opioids, the findings also show that older Americans are aware of the concerns surrounding these drugs. Three in 4 of those surveyed (73 percent) reported trying to take pain medication less often or in a smaller amount than was prescribed.”

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