Taking drugs for pain and sleep increases frailty – large new study

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prescription drug, frailty, painkiller side effects, sleeping pill side effects, arthritis digest, health magazineRegular use of prescription drugs for pain and/or sleep leads to risk of frailty in older adults says a large study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

The finding is important as frailty is a reliable predictor of loss of independence, increased use of healthcare resources and mortality.

A total of 7,201 older adults who were not frail at the start of the study (average age 70 years old) were followed for eight years.

People who used prescription drugs for both pain and sleep had a 95% increased risk of frailty compared to those who did not report regular use of these drugs. Frailty increased by 58% for those who only took painkillers and 35% increase for people who took sleep-related drugs.

“Co-use of multiple prescription medications is a growing phenomenon, especially among older adults,” explains Dr Juyoung Park. “Our study shows that regular self-reported use and use of prescription drugs for pain and for sleep are significantly associated with increased incidence of frailty,” said Bergen. “We recommend further research to estimate the frailty risk of pain and sleep measures and of prescription pain and sleep drugs.”

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