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Am J Hematol. 2013 Nov;88(11):939-43.

Pain over time and its effects on life in thalassemia.


Pain reports have become increasingly common and problematic in thalassemia. As patients are living longer,there is a growing need to study pain and to explore its impact on patient lives. The Brief Pain Inventory(BPI) was used quarterly to assess pain and pain interference in patients with thalassemia in North America.The Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale were used to assess quality of life, anxiety and depression. Of the 252 participants, 56% reported pain at least once over the course of this study, with 32% reporting severe pain (≥7/10); 16% reported pain at all four visits. Increased pain severity significantly interfered with daily life (P< 0.001; regression analysis) and participants with more sites of pain showed an increase in the amount of daily activities affected by pain(P50.001). Participants reporting more visits with pain reported a significantly higher impact on affective and physical function (P< 0.001). Physical quality of life decreased with increasing numbers of visits with pain (P< 0.001). Those who reported one or more sites of pain showed increased symptoms of both depression(P< 0.001) and anxiety (P50.003). Participants reporting at least two visits with pain had higher symptoms of anxiety (P50.002) and those with at least three visits reported higher symptoms of depression(P50.003). Pain is prevalent in thalassemia and is often a chronic condition that interferes with life. The study highlights the significance of pain in thalassemia and its impact, which should be considered in future research and treatments.

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