Recognizing the Risks of Chronic Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Older Adults

Ann Longterm Care. 2010;18(9):24-27.


Older adults commonly take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) chronically. Studies of older adults show that chronic NSAID use increases the risk of peptic ulcer disease, acute renal failure, and stroke/myocardial infarction. Moreover, chronic NSAID use can exacerbate a number of chronic diseases including heart failure and hypertension, and can interact with a number of drugs (eg, warfarin, corticosteroids). Preferred analgesics in older adults that may have a lower risk of these adverse drug reactions include acetaminophen, a nonacetylated salicylate (eg, salsalate), a short half-life NSAID (eg, ibuprofen), or low-dose opioid/opioid-like agents in combination with acetaminophen (in appropriate patients).