Magazine article Drug Topics

Painful Truth

Magazine article Drug Topics

Painful Truth

Article excerpt

Approximately 34 million adult Americans go to their doctor at least once a year for mild to moderate chronic pain serious enough to have an impact on their lives, according to a new survey conducted by Louis Harris & Associates. Results, released at an American Medical Association media briefing on pain and pain management held in New York City, indicated that there is "significant dissatisfaction" with available over-the-counter and prescription pain medications on the part of patients and physicians.

The survey was underwritten by an educational grant from McNeil Pharmaceutical, Raritan, N.). The study was based on interviews with a national cross section of 1,000 patients who suffered one or more types of pain for at least six months and 400 physicians who treat mild to moderate chronic pain. All patients had taken prescription pain medication for at least one of four types of pain: migraine headaches, arthritis pain, lower back pain, or neuralgia.

Nearly three-fourths of mild to moderate chronic pain patients tried OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin before they went to a physician for help, the survey determined. One-fourth of pain sufferers were very satisfied, and four in 10 were somewhat satisfied with OTC pain medications. Fifteen percent felt somewhat dissatisfied, and 10% felt very dissatisfied with choices available in OTC pain relievers.

No relief for some

Nearly half (44%) of people treated for mild to moderate chronic pain continue to suffer pain not controlled by their prescription pain medication. Nine in 10 physicians who treat mild to moderate chronic pain had at some point prescribed additional medication to treat the side effects of prescription analgesics.

More than 60% of patients surveyed hesitate to take common prescription medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and codeine combinations, primarily because of concerns about side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding or possible addiction.

Physicians also said they were dissatisfied with current prescription choices and expressed their concern about side effects and addiction. A substantial number of physicians were concerned about the abuse potential of codeine combinations and other scheduled drugs.

These fears are largely unwarranted when opiate treatment is carefully managed, said David E. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.