Pharmacological treatment of chronic non-malignant pain among elderly persons: an integrative review

Salomão Antônio Olivência Luiza Gabriela Mendes Barbosa Marcela Rodrigues da Cunha Ledismar José da Silva About the authors



The objective of the present study was to perform an integrative review of proposed pharmacological treatments for chronic non-malignant pain in elderly patients.


An integrative review was carried out. The search of literature included papers about the treatment of chronic pain among the elderly, published from 2007 to 2017 and available in Portuguese or English. Searches were conducted on the LILACS and MEDLINE electronic databases using the key words “chronic pain”, “treatment” and “elderly” combined with the Boolean operator “AND”. To analyse methodological quality, the adapted Critical Appraisal Skill Program (CASP) was used.


Of a total of 303 studies found, 32 were included. The articles selected included 20 reviews, five observational studies, five clinical trials, one case series and one retrospective study. A total of 75% of the articles were published in the last five years, of which one was in Portuguese and 31 in English.


:The results demonstrate a variety of treatments for chronic pain among the elderly population, highlighting the role of opioids which, according to more recent evidence, can be carefully used in treatment. Several drugs, however, have not been specifically tested for the elderly population. A number of factors are relevant in pain management of elderly patients, including comorbidities, polypharmacy and patient functionality. An individualized approach should be applied to elderly patients to improve outcomes and reduce side effects.

Chronic Pain; Drug Terapy; Drug Utilization; Health of the Elderly.

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