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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2000 Jan;19(1):53-62.

Characteristics of methadone maintenance patients with chronic pain.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

Chronic pain patients who have limited access to opioids may be redirected to methadone maintenance centers for management of their pain. Unfortunately, little information exists on the incidence and characteristics of methadone maintenance patients with chronic pain. The aim of this study was to survey individuals at methadone maintenance centers in order to determine the prevalence of chronic pain and to explore differences between patients with and without pain in this treatment setting. Of 248 participants interviewed at three centers, 152 (61.3%) reported chronic pain. Compared with patients without pain, those with pain reported significantly more health problems (P < 0.001), more psychiatric disturbance (P < 0.05), more prescription and nonprescription medication use (P < 0.001), and greater belief that they were undertreated (P < 0.001); 44% of those with pain believed that opioids prescribed for their pain had led to an addiction problem. Most of the methadone maintenance patients stated that they had always required some substance (alcohol or opioids) to feel normal. These results raise many questions about chronic-pain treatment policies and resources for persons with a history of substance abuse. Further investigations are needed to define the needs of this population and to improve their access to effective pain management.

PMID:
10687327
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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