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Papers: 19 Feb 2022 - 25 Feb 2022

2022 Feb 24

Anesth Analg

Nonopioid Analgesics for the Perioperative Geriatric Patient: A Narrative Review.


Wilson SH, Wilson RP, Bridges KH, Bell HL, Clark CA
Anesth Analg. 2022 Feb 24.
PMID: 35202007.


Management of acute perioperative pain in the geriatric patient can be challenging as the physiologic and pharmacokinetic changes associated with aging may predispose older patients to opioid-related side effects. Furthermore, elderly adults are more susceptible to postoperative delirium and postoperative cognitive dysfunction, which may be exacerbated by both poorly controlled postoperative pain and commonly used pain medications. This narrative review summarizes the literature published in the past 10 years for several nonopioid analgesics commonly prescribed to the geriatric patient in the perioperative period. Nonopioid analgesics are broken down as follows: medications prescribed throughout the perioperative period (acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), medications limited to the acute perioperative setting (N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists, dexmedetomidine, dexamethasone, and local anesthetics), and medications to be used with caution in the geriatric patient population (gabapentinoids and muscle relaxants). Our search identified 1757 citations, but only 33 specifically focused on geriatric analgesia. Of these, only 21 were randomized clinical trials' and 1 was a systematic review. While guidance in tailoring pain regimens that focus on the use of nonopioid medications in the geriatric patient is lacking, we summarize the current literature and highlight that some nonopioid medications may extend benefits to the geriatric patient beyond analgesia.