Painful Conversations: Survey finds doctors and people with pain uncomfortable discussing prescription drug abuse
(BPT) - Have you ever gone to the doctor knowing exactly what you were going to say, but the minute they walk in, all of your questions seem to disappear? You're not alone. It's not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable at the doctor's office. There are a lot of important areas to cover in a short period of time. And, when you're living with chronic pain, one of these areas is prescription drug use.
The reality is that people affected by chronic pain are reluctant to talk about opioid treatment and issues of abuse and misuse with their clinicians, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Teva Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with the U.S. Pain Foundation and the American Academy of Pain Management. In fact, 29 percent of people living with chronic pain said they worry that asking their doctor about prescription drug abuse will suggest they have a problem. Doctors are equally uncomfortable bringing up the issue as 40 percent of prescribers fear such discussions may damage their relationships with patients.
'Chronic pain and prescription drug abuse are both significant health issues impacting our society. However, the stigma surrounding both of these can make them very difficult to talk about,' says Bob Twillman, PhD, executive director of the American Academy of Pain Management.
Chronic pain is a serious medical condition that affects more than 100 million Americans, according to the Institute of Medicine. It can impact many aspects of daily life and may greatly affect people leaving them unable to work, maintain relationships or participate in daily tasks. While prescription pain medications can be an important component of pain management, the reality is these products are prone to abuse and misuse. The person prescribed the medication isn't necessarily the only one at risk for abuse and misuse. In fact, more than three out of four people who misuse prescription pain medications do so by using medication prescribed to someone else.
'If you are prescribed a prescription opioid medicine, it is important to ask about the risks and who else may be affected,' says Melanie Rosenblatt, MD, Medical Director of Pain Management at Broward Health North in Pompano Beach, FL. 'The good news is there are resources available to support this important conversation.'
Three-quarters of patients and 71 percent of healthcare professionals believe that education is one of the best ways to help them deal with prescription drug abuse, according to the survey.
A new resource from Teva Pharmaceuticals, PainMatters.com, provides healthcare professionals and people affected by pain information and resources to navigate this complex pain care landscape, including:
- The Pain Matters documentary film produced by the Discovery Channel and supported by Teva
- Pain Perspectives, providing community insights in a blog-like feature with ongoing insights from the pain community
- A first-of-its kind video on the evolving science of abuse-deterrence technology
- Downloadable resources for people affected by pain, including discussion guides and pain self-assessments
- Practical tools for healthcare professionals treating pain, including the Brief Pain Inventory and opioid risk tool
Visit PainMatters.com for information and resources to support responsible pain management for healthcare professionals and people affected by pain.
Dr. Rosenblatt has been compensated for her role as a spokesperson for Pain Matters.
PAIN-40299 June 2015