OBJECTIVES: The number of older adults on methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for opioid use disorder is increasing, but little is known about the characteristics and healthcare needs of this aging treatment population. This population may experience accelerated aging due to comorbidities and health behaviors. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of geriatric conditions among adults age >/=50 on MMT to a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling older adults.
METHODS: We performed a geriatric assessment on 47 adults age >/=50 currently on MMT enrolled in 2 opioid treatment programs, in New York City and in East Providence, Rhode Island. We collected data on self-reported geriatric conditions, healthcare utilization, chronic medical conditions, physical function, and substance use. The results were compared to 470 age, sex, and race/ethnicity-matched adults in the national Health and Retirement Study.
RESULTS: The mean age of the study sample was 58.8 years and 23.4% were female. The most common chronic diseases were hypertension (59.6%) and arthritis (55.3%) with 66% reporting >/=2 diseases. For geriatric conditions, adults on MMT had a significantly higher prevalence of mobility, hearing, and visual impairments as well as falls, urinary incontinence, chronic pain, and insomnia than the Health and Retirement Study sample.
CONCLUSIONS: Older adults on MMT in 2 large opioid treatment programs have a high prevalence of geriatric conditions. An interdisciplinary, geriatric-based approach to care that focuses on function and addresses geriatric conditions is needed to improve the health of this growing population.
Geriatric conditions among middle-aged and older adults on methadone maintenance treatment: A pilot study
Journal of Addiction Medicine [Epub 2020 Dec 30]. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000808. PMCID: PMC8243387.