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Gerontological Society targets seniors' pain relief in new publications

February 2, 2012
by Kevin Kolus
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The pain suffered by older adults is the shared focus of the two newest entries in The Gerontological Society of America's (GSA) “From Publication to Practice” series, with a special focus on one of the most popular pain medications: acetaminophen.

Both issues aim to provide readers with information on how new advances in pain prevention, treatment and management may improve care and quality of life for older adults. The “From Publication to Practice” series was launched last year to promote the translation of research into meaningful health outcomes, according to GSA.

"Taken together, these two new resources will enable the gerontological community to identify opportunities to improve pain management services," said Cathy Alessi, MD, the 2011 chair of GSA's Health Sciences Section. "Research indicates that severe pain in older adults leads to a decreased quality of life, including both satisfaction with life and health-related quality of life."

One of the installments, "An Interdisciplinary Look at Advancing Pain Care, Education, and Research: Responding to the IOM's Call to Action To Improve Pain Management," addresses shortfalls in assessment and treatment for older adults with pain.

The other new issue, "An Interdisciplinary Look at Labeling Changes for Acetaminophen and the Implications for Patient Care," was produced in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent modifications to the recommended daily dosage of acetaminophen. The purpose of these changes is to make patients aware of the presence and amount of acetaminophen in single-ingredient and combination products—with the goal of preventing overdoses that can cause acute liver failure.

Acetaminophen is present in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription products used by more than 50 million Americans each week, GSA noted. This commonly used medication is taken to treat conditions such as pain, fever, and the aches and pains associated with cold and flu.

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