Prescription of pain medication among older cancer patients with and without an intellectual disability: A national register study

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift


Background: The longevity for people with intellectual disability (ID) has significantly increased in developed countries during the past decades. Consequently, the incidence of cancer is expected to increase in this group. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prescription of pain medication in older cancer patients with intellectual disability (ID) compared to older patients in the general population, surviving or living with a cancer diagnosis. Methods: This Swedish national registry-based study, included people with ID aged 55 years or older in 2012, and alive at the end of that year (ID cohort, n = 7936). For comparisons, we used a referent cohort, one-to-one matched with the general population by year of birth and sex (gPop cohort, n = 7936). People with at least one diagnosis of cancer during 2002-2012 were identified using the Swedish National Patient Register, resulting in 555 cancer patients with ID and 877 cancer patients from the general population. These two cohorts of cancer patients were compared with respect to prescription of pain medication for the period 2006-2012. Outcome data were aggregated so that each patient was categorized as either having or not having at least one prescription of each investigated drug group during the study period, and relative risks (RRs) for prescription were estimated for prescription in the ID cohort vs the gPop cohort. Results: Cancer patients with ID were less likely than cancer patients in the gPop cohort to have at least one prescription of COX inhibitors (RR 0.61) and weak opioids (RR 0.63). They were, however, more likely to be prescribed paracetamol (RR 1.16), antidepressants (RR 2.09), anxiolytics (RR 2.84), and "other hypnotics, sedatives, and neuroleptics" (RR 1.39). No statistically significant differences between the two cohorts were found for strong opioids, antiepileptics, tricyclic antidepressants, or hypnotics and sedatives. Conclusion: In the studied cohort of older people surviving or living with cancer, prescriptions for pain-treatment was less common in patients with ID compared to the general population. These results may suggest that pain is not sufficiently treated among cancer patients with ID, a situation that most likely would compromise the quality of life in this group.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Region Skåne, Primary health care

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Cancer och onkologi
  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi


TidskriftBMC Cancer
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2019 nov 4
Peer review utfördJa

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