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Indian J Palliat Care. 2019 Oct-Dec;25(4):567-574. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_83_19.

A Cross-Sectional Web-Based Survey of Medical Practitioners in India to Assess their Knowledge, Attitude, Prescription Practices, and Barriers toward Opioid Analgesic Prescriptions.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Dr. B.R.A IRCH, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.
Department of Psychiatry, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Dr. B.R.A IRCH, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.
Department of Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine, Dr. B.R.A IRCH, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.
National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.
Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, India.



Inadequate training of medical practitioners is a key factor responsible for inappropriate use of opioid analgesics.


We assessed the current knowledge, attitude, prescribing practices, and barriers perceived by the Indian medical practitioners in three tertiary care hospitals toward the use of opioid analgesics.

Subjects and Methods:

Web-based survey of registered medical practitioner employed at three chosen tertiary health care institutions in New Delhi.

Statistical Analysis Used:

Descriptive analysis of survey responses was carried out. Comparative analysis was done using Chi-square test, independent samples t-test, and Pearson correlation coefficient.


The response rate was 10.4% (n = 308). Two-thirds of the participants (61.7%) had never received formal pain management training, and 86.7% participants would like further training. Most participants (71.1%) agreed that opioids should be prescribed in cancer pain, while 26.3% agreed that opioids should be prescribed in noncancer pain. Half of the participants agreed that SOS (if necessary) dosing schedule (48.4%), low dosage (61.7%), and short duration of use (51.4%) could decrease the harmful effect of opioids. Lack of information about opioid-related policies and addiction potential were identified as the most common barriers to prescribing opioids. Those seeing more patients with chronic noncancer pain come across opioid misuse and diversion more often (P = 0.02). Those who understood addiction were more likely to agree that patients of chronic cancer pain with substance use disorders should be prescribed opioid analgesics (P < 0.01).


Indian medical practitioners felt the need for formal pain management training. There is a lack of consensus on how to manage the pain using opioid analgesics. Tough regulations on medical and scientific use of opioids are the most commonly reported barrier to prescribing them.


Addictive behavior; Internet; cancer pain; opioid analgesics; pain management; surveys and questionnaires

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