Tags: Mild | Pain | Meds | Help | Dementia | Patients

Mild Pain Meds Help Dementia Patients

Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 12:00 AM

Mild over-the-counter pain medicines may help elderly adults with dementia become more active and socially engaged, the results of a small study suggest.

Researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri found that acetaminophen helped change the behaviors of home patients who had moderate to severe dementia. The patients spent less time in their rooms and more time watching television, listening to music, reading or performing "work-like" activities.

These findings suggest that unrecognized, untreated pain in dementia patients keeps them from being as active as they can be, according to study head Dr. John T. Chibnall.

To see if a mild painkiller could change dementia patients' behavior, Chibnall and his colleagues studied the effects of 4 weeks of treatment with acetaminophen. Twenty-five nursing home residents with moderate to severe dementia spent 4 weeks taking three daily doses of acetaminophen and another 4 weeks taking inactive pills.

Overall, the study found that patients spent less time by themselves and more time being socially active when using acetaminophen.

"Pain treatment in this group may facilitate engagement with the environment," conclude the Missouri researchers. The study appears in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Mild over-the-counter pain medicines may help elderly adults with dementia become more active and socially engaged, the results of a small study suggest. Researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri found that acetaminophen helped change the...
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