|   View web version
Today's Geriatric Medicine e-Newsletter
Subscribe or Renew
Digital Edition
September 2015 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
A recent study notes that although there has been progress in decreasing opioid prescribing, coprescribing of opioids and sedatives has not decreased. An estimated 80% of unintentional overdose deaths related to opioids may involve benzodiazepines. The solution to the overprescribing dilemma may lie in helping clinicians better understand the risks and benefits associated with prescription opioids.

In addition to reading our e-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and Twitter, too.

— Barbara Worthington, editor
e-News Exclusive
Dangerous Drug Combinations to Treat Chronic Pain and Mental Health Conditions

Study finds that the rate of prescribing for pain medications has slowed while dangerous multidrug use has not.

Although the United States may have passed the peak in the use and abuse of prescription opioids, recent studies show no decline in the coprescribing of opioid pain medications and sedatives, whose interaction can slow breathing and dramatically raise the risk of overdose death.

"Multidrug use is the trailing edge of the opioid epidemic," says Mark Sullivan, MD, PhD, a University of Washington (UW) professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the executive director of COPE (Collaborative Opioid Prescribing Education) for Chronic Pain CME at the UW School of Medicine. "We are making progress on decreasing opioid prescribing, but coprescribing of opioids and sedatives has not decreased."

This is important, he says, because most prescription opioid deaths commonly involve alcohol, sedatives, and/or illicit drugs such as heroin. But the most fatal combination is opioids and common benzodiazepines, which are medications prescribed for depression, anxiety, and sleep. A leading pain research specialist, Sullivan provided commentary, "What are we treating with opioid and sedative-hypnotic combination therapy?" in the August 2015 issue of the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

Full story »
Recently in Today's Geriatric Medicine
Treating Traumatic Brain Injury
Speech-language pathologists help patients to develop compensatory strategies for attention/memory/reasoning impairments following brain injury, which often occurs as a result of falls. Speech-language therapists also train caregivers to assist patients with implementing these strategies. Read more »

Providers and Caregivers: Together on the Front Lines
Caring for a family member requires a partnership between physicians and patients' caregivers to meet the specialized challenges to family caregivers. Physicians must familiarize themselves with basic information to provide to caregivers seeking resources and solutions. Read more »

Tramadol Safety Concerns
Tramadol, a commonly prescribed synthetic opioid analgesic, can result in adverse events of which prescribers should be aware. Read more »
In this e-Newsletter
Tech & Tools
Altro Aquarius
Altro has created Altro Aquarius, a safety flooring for all types of wet environments. The new flooring is considered ideal for nurse-assisted bathrooms or other areas in long term care that have both shoe and barefoot traffic. The flooring offers slip resistance for both wet and dry or mixed shoe use. Able to integrate with drains, it incorporates technology for maximal stain and chemical resistance. Learn more »

Home & Away Elite
Medical Care Alert recently introduced its new Home & Away Elite mobile GPS medical alert system. Worn around the neck or on the hip, the small two-ounce pendant can summon help 24/7 from anywhere in the United States using a wireless network. It represents the next generation in mobile and automatic fall detection medical alert systems. Unlike traditional medical alert systems that work only inside the home, the new alert system follows the user anywhere. Designed for active older adults who work or travel, the pendant combines GPS location services, two-way cellular voice communication, and optional automatic fall detection, summoning help at the press of the button. Learn more »
Featured Jobs
The nation's top employers and recruiters of geriatric care professionals advertise in Today's Geriatric Medicine magazine and post their job openings on Check out the most recent opportunities that have been submitted by employers across the country!

Geriatrician—Reading Hospital
Palliative Care Physician—Reading Hospital
BE/BC Geriatrician—Carle Physician Group
Medical Director—Riverside Health
Pace Provider—Riverside Health
BE/BC Geriatrician—Sparrow Medical Group
Physician—Cox Health
Geriatric Medical Director—Honor Health
Other News
New Frontier for Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy
Is Recovery From Stroke

An article in the The Wall Street Journal notes researchers’ attempts to utilize deep brain stimulation to improve stroke outcomes.

For Older Drivers, Giving up the Car Keys Can Be a Health Risk,
Researchers Say

A recent study indicates that when older adults’ limitations force them to stop driving, detrimental effects extend beyond the loss of independence, according to an article at

Study in Virginia Beach Offers a New Tool in the Struggle With Dementia
An ongoing study seeks to determine whether computers can improve the mood and behavior of dementia patients in nursing homes, according to an article in Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot.

Study Puts Medicare's Three-Day Inpatient Hospital Stay in Focus
According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a recent study appears to justify Medicare’s reconsideration of requiring a patient’s three-day hospital stay in order to qualify for Medicare coverage of nursing home admission.
Geriatrics Consult With Rosemary Laird, MD
It's a New Influenza Season

Every flu season we spend time explaining the reality of the risk vs benefits of flu vaccination to our patients. There is much hype and folklore associated with vaccination, but the facts are clear and should make everyone who’s eligible receive a vaccine. These days, in addition to getting patients to say yes to vaccination, we need to guide them to the right type of vaccine, and we need to educate them about the availability of treatment. It’s a whole new day for influenza care.

Continue reading »
Ask the Expert
Have a question you want answered by one of our experts? Send your question to and it may be featured in an upcoming e-newsletter or print issue.
Advertising Opportunities
Have a product or service you want to market to geriatricians, other physicians and the geriatric care team of professionals who treat aging patients? Are you a recruiter looking to fill the many geriatric professional openings within a facility, physician practice or academic institution? Then utilize the reach of Today's Geriatric Medicine to accomplish your marketing goals and fill any open positions.

A resource for professionals looking for new opportunities, as well as those physicians just curious to see what's out there, our Physician Recruitment Center gives physician recruiters a powerful tool to fill partnership opportunities, academic appointments, and hospital staff positions. To support your product marketing or recruiting needs, e-mail our experienced account executives today at for more information or call 800-278-4400!
Set up Job Alerts and create your online Résumé
to let potential employers find you today!