New opioid use was high among older people with COPD in community-dwelling adults and residents of long-term care facilities in Ontario, Canada, according to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

The study followed 107,109 community-dwelling and 16,207 long-term care resident older adults with physician-diagnosed COPD from 2003 to 2012. During the observation period, 68.1% of community-dwelling and 54.4% of long-term care residents received an incident opioid drug.

The investigators found patterns of new opioid use among older adults with COPD that have the potential to augment possible negative drug-related effects including multiple opioid dispensing (8.8%), dispensing for more than 30 days’ duration (up to 19.8%), second dispensing (35%-43%), and early refills (24.2%) were observed.