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open access

Vol 6, No 4 (2007)
Original articles
Published online: 2008-02-20
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Are the patients afraid of opioids? Pilot study of the patients with chronic cancer and non-malignant pain

Marcin Schiller, Anna Pyszora, Michał Graczyk, Anna Gajewska, Małgorzata Krajnik
Advances in Palliative Medicine 2007;6(4):121-124.

open access

Vol 6, No 4 (2007)
Original articles
Published online: 2008-02-20

Abstract

Background. Chronic pain is a major public health issue. Opioids have an important role in the management of chronic cancer and non-cancer pain. Unfortunately, beliefs and myths about opioids are a serious obstacle to using them in pain relief.
Material and methods. The study involved 28 patients who suffered from chronic cancer or non-cancer pain. The functional status was measured using Karnofsky Performance Scale and Edmonton Symptom Assessment System. Each patient was asked to complete a survey consisting of three parts, which determined patients medical characteristics, knowledge of analgesic drugs and the fears of using opioids.
Results. Our study showed that over half of the surveyed patients (53%) had doubts about starting the opioids treatment. They were afraid of taking morphine and the patients who used tramadol feared of changing it into morphine. The most common reason given by the patients was the fear of addiction and death, which were believed to be associated with using opioids. Other reasons included: the fear of side effects and/or unsatisfactory result of pain relief.
Conclusion. Our research suggests that patients are afraid of taking opioids, especially morphine. The results of this pilot study vote for the need of larger survey on patients' attitude to the treatment with opioids for pain management.

Abstract

Background. Chronic pain is a major public health issue. Opioids have an important role in the management of chronic cancer and non-cancer pain. Unfortunately, beliefs and myths about opioids are a serious obstacle to using them in pain relief.
Material and methods. The study involved 28 patients who suffered from chronic cancer or non-cancer pain. The functional status was measured using Karnofsky Performance Scale and Edmonton Symptom Assessment System. Each patient was asked to complete a survey consisting of three parts, which determined patients medical characteristics, knowledge of analgesic drugs and the fears of using opioids.
Results. Our study showed that over half of the surveyed patients (53%) had doubts about starting the opioids treatment. They were afraid of taking morphine and the patients who used tramadol feared of changing it into morphine. The most common reason given by the patients was the fear of addiction and death, which were believed to be associated with using opioids. Other reasons included: the fear of side effects and/or unsatisfactory result of pain relief.
Conclusion. Our research suggests that patients are afraid of taking opioids, especially morphine. The results of this pilot study vote for the need of larger survey on patients' attitude to the treatment with opioids for pain management.
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Keywords

chronic pain; opioids; opiophobia

About this article
Title

Are the patients afraid of opioids? Pilot study of the patients with chronic cancer and non-malignant pain

Journal

Advances in Palliative Medicine

Issue

Vol 6, No 4 (2007)

Pages

121-124

Published online

2008-02-20

Bibliographic record

Advances in Palliative Medicine 2007;6(4):121-124.

Keywords

chronic pain
opioids
opiophobia

Authors

Marcin Schiller
Anna Pyszora
Michał Graczyk
Anna Gajewska
Małgorzata Krajnik

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