Medical residents' beliefs and concerns about using opioids to treat chronic cancer and noncancer pain: A pilot study

Craig S. Roth, Diana J. Burgess, Maren L. Mahowald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study assessed and compared residents' beliefs and concerns about using opioids for treating pain in patients with cancer and noncancer low back pain (NLBP). Participants included 72 Internal Medicine and Medicine-Pediatrics residents who completed a survey questionnaire. Based on a scale of 0 = "No concern" to 10 = "Very concerned," residents expressed greater concern that treating NLBP with opioids, compared with cancer-related pain, causes addiction (6.01 vs 1.15), abuse (5.57 vs 1.39), and side effects (4.76 vs 2.87); limits other treatments (5.36 vs 1.30); draws criticism from faculty (4.33 vs 0.88); or risks sanctioning (state board 4.12 vs 1.12, legal 4.06 vs 1.17); p < 0.001 for each (paired t-tests). They had more comfort (8.94 vs 4.31) and more empathy (9.09 vs 6.79) using opioids to treat for cancer pain than NLBP and would give whatever doses necessary for pain control (8.41 vs 3.66); p < 0.001 for each. Our findings show that residents are far more concerned about using opioids to treat NLBP than cancer-related pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Analgesics
  • Cancer pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Noncancer
  • Opioids
  • Pain
  • Physician attitudes
  • Psychological
  • Resident education
  • Treatment

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