Addiction Still Common in Chronic Pain Patients

Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor
Published Online: Friday, July 22, 2011
Follow Pharmacy_Times:
A new study by Geisinger Health System researchers has revealed a high prevalence of prescription pain medication addiction among chronic pain patients. In addition, researchers found that the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) new definition of addiction, which was expected to reduce the number of people considered addicts who take these medicines, actually resulted in the same percentage of individuals meeting the criteria of addiction.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases, found that 35% of patients undergoing long-term pain therapy with opioids like morphine, OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, meet the criteria for addiction.

“Most patients will not know if they carry the genetic risk factors for addiction,” said study lead Joseph Boscarino, PhD, MPH, in a statement. “Improper or illegal use of prescription pain medication can become a lifelong problem with serious repercussions for users and their families.”

Boscarino added that “genetic predisposition to addiction further exacerbates the risks associated with misuse of prescription pain medication.”
Using electronic records, a random sample of outpatients undergoing long-term opioid therapy for non-cancer pain was identified and 705 participants completed telephone interviews from August 2007 through November 2008.

When comparing the APA’s newly revised criteria for addiction with the old criteria, researchers were surprised to find the prevalence of and risk factors for addiction to be virtually the same. It was determined that different symptoms now qualify the same patients for inclusion who would have been excluded under the previous classification system.

The study states that pain medication addiction often happens in individuals aged 65 and younger, with a history of opioid abuse, withdrawal symptoms and substance abuse treatment. Risk factors for severe pain medication addiction also include a history of anti-social personality disorder.

“Ultimately, we hope our research will aid the development of newer classes of medications that don’t negatively impact the brain and therefore avoid addiction entirely,” Boscarino said.

Related Articles
The Virginia State Board of Pharmacy shut down the prescription operations of a pharmacy in Richmond after deeming it deficient in several areas upon inspection.
Deaths related to oxycodone overdose dropped 25% in Florida after the state adopted a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to track controlled substance dispensing.
The FDA today expanded the indication of Allergan’s onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox), allowing the drug to be used for the treatment of upper limb spasticity in adults.
Recommendations for pharmacy school graduates, and nice reminders for everyone else.
Latest Issues
  • photo
    Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Health-System Edition
    photo
    Directions in Pharmacy
    photo
    OTC Guide
    photo
    Generic Supplements
  • photo
    Pharmacy Careers
    photo
    Specialty Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Generic
$auto_registration$