[Comorbidity, multiple medication, and well-being in elderly patients with chronic pain]

Schmerz. 2003 Aug;17(4):252-60. doi: 10.1007/s00482-003-0231-0.
[Article in German]


Consecutive patients with a minimum age of 65 years and at least one additional diagnosis participated in a standardized interview during the initial assessments in two geriatric hospitals ( n=86), a multidisciplinary pain center ( n=60), and three primary care practices ( n=117). The average age of the total sample was 76.29 years (SD=7.40); females constituted 73.3% of the sample. The average number of drugs consumed by the patients amounted to 7.31 (SD=2.66) with a maximum number of 19 drugs. Nearly three-quarters of the patients indicated a reduction in their pain by avoiding physical activity. Every second patient often felt depressed and without energy. The most frequent symptoms were a dry mouth, sleep disorders, fatigue, constipation, and dizziness. Patients from the geriatric hospitals were older and better educated, reported fewer painful body regions, indicated lower intensity and duration of pain as well as a lower number of pain medications. On the other hand, they were characterized by a higher intensity of comorbidity and by increased functional impairment. Patients from the pain clinic suffered more frequently from pain in the hip and the pelvis. They took stage I analgesics more often and admitted more frequently to adjusting the drug consumption to changes in well-being and situational factors. They felt the highest amount of impairment in their social activities. Nevertheless, they expressed the highest confidence in future improvement.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Clinics
  • Pain Measurement


  • Analgesics