Disconnect In Pain-Related Communications Between Prescribers of Pain Medications and Patients

    Published: April 2015

    Research confirms several “disconnects” in the pain-related communication between health care prescribers of prescription opiates (Rx painkillers) and their patients.

    Key Takeaways

    This report examined the disconnect in pain-related communication between health care prescribers of prescription opiates and their patients. The report found that this disconnect leads to dependence and addiction, that patients’ improper use of prescription opiates causes concern amongst physicians, that patients have casual attitudes towards the safeguarding of prescription painkillers and that some prescribers feel unprepared to identify and address intentional prescription painkiller misuse. Additional findings include the following:

    • More than 1 in 10 pain patients (13 percent of chronic pain patients and 15 percent of acute pain patients) have taken someone else’s opiate prescription.
    • Almost half of pain patients surveyed (46 percent) expressed some form of concern about taking prescription opiates: 39 percent of chronic pain patients and 30 percent of acute pain patients are concerned with becoming addicted to their pain medications; and 38 percent of chronic pain patients and 43 percent of acute pain patients feel uncomfortable taking their prescribed opiate prescriptions.
    • The majority of prescribers (77 percent of primary care physicians and 75 percent of pain management specialists) believe that patients do not always use their prescribed opiates as directed.
    • Only 11 percent of chronic pain patients and 13 percent of acute pain patients say they are concerned with someone else in their household accessing their medications; and only 42 percent of chronic and 52 percent of acute pain patients who have children in the household said they store their medication somewhere their children cannot reach.

    Research Methods

    This data was fielded by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Pain Management and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

    Published

    April 2015

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