Pain, a common complaint for elderly patients, can be challenging for physicians to treat safely and effectively. To better understand these challenges and to promote safer use, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently begun examining pain medication use in elderly patients as part of its Safe Use Initiative.
The aim of the FDA's Safe Use Initiative, launched in November 2009, is reducing preventable drug-related adverse events (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM188961.pdf). It seeks to bring together patients, health care professionals, insurers, drug manufacturers, federal health agencies, and other health-related organizations to collaboratively address drug safety issues. Among the issues the agency initially hoped to address were the safe use of single-dose and multidose vials of medication. Additionally, the agency is holding a series of public meetings with stakeholder groups to help identify other medication safety concerns.