Prevalence and treatment of neuropathic pain diagnoses among U.S. nursing home residents

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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Epidemiology | Geriatrics | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Nervous System Diseases | Pain Management | Therapeutics


ABSTRACT: Neuropathic pain is a common condition experienced by older adults. Prevalence estimates of neuropathic pain and descriptive data of pharmacologic management among nursing home residents are unavailable. We estimated the prevalence of neuropathic pain diagnoses and described the use of pain medications among nursing home residents with possible neuropathic pain. Using the Minimum Data Set 3.0 linked to Medicare claims for residents living in a nursing home on November 30, 2016, we included 473,815 residents. ICD-10 codes were used to identify neuropathic pain diagnoses. Identification of prescription analgesics/adjuvants was based on claims for the supply of medications that overlapped with the index date over a 3-month look-back period. The prevalence of neuropathic pain was 14.6%. Among those with neuropathic pain, 19.7% had diabetic neuropathy, 27.3% had back and neck pain with neuropathic involvement, and 25.1% had hereditary or idiopathic neuropathy. Among residents with neuropathic pain, 49.9% received anticonvulsants, 28.6% received antidepressants, 19.0% received opioids, and 28.2% had no claims for analgesics or adjuvants. Resident characteristics associated with lack of medications included advanced age, dependency in activities of daily living, cognitive impairment, and diagnoses of comorbid conditions. A diagnosis of neuropathic pain is common among nursing home residents, yet many lack pharmacologic treatment for their pain. Future epidemiologic studies can help develop a more standard approach to identifying and managing neuropathic pain among nursing home residents.


Neuropathic pain, Nursing home residents, Pharmacologic pain management

DOI of Published Version



Mbrah AK, Nunes AP, Hume AL, Zhao D, Jesdale BM, Bova C, Lapane KL. Prevalence and treatment of neuropathic pain diagnoses among U.S. nursing home residents. Pain. 2021 Oct 26. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002525. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34711763. Link to article on publisher's site

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