Four strategies for managing opioid-induced side effects in older adults
Opioid medications can provide pain relief for many older adults, including those with noncancer-related chronic pain, but the development of bothersome side effects can signifcantly impact their quality of life, result in discontinuation of treatment, and lead to poor outcomes. Awareness of common opioid-related side effects and how to manage them can ensure safe and effective pain management for older adults. In this article, the authors review the four approaches to managing opioid-induced side effects, as outlined by the Expert Working Group of the European Association of Palliative Care. The approaches, which include dose reduction, opioid rotation, altering the route of opioid administration, and symptomatic management of adverse effects, can be implemented both before and during opioid treatment and combined to maximize impact.