Unintended Consequences of Opioid Regulations in Older Adults With Multiple Chronic Conditions

Christine S. Ritchie, MD, MSPH; Sarah B. Garrett, PhD; Nicole Thompson, BA; Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD, FAAN


Gerontologist. 2020;60(7):1343-1352. 

In This Article


Older adults with chronic pain and MCC face unique challenges with pain management. Recent health care regulations may be inadvertently eroding patient–clinician relationships and escalating patients' overall levels of distress. Findings from this qualitative study of older adults with chronic pain and MCC suggest the importance of clinician–patient shared decision making and alliance in conversations regarding chronic pain management. It highlights the need for routine monitoring of outcomes other than drug utilization and mortality when a society institutes new policies and regulations. It argues for more robust research in this population so that the true benefits and harms of various pain management strategies can be understood and communicated between patients and clinicians.