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Under-Treatment of Pain Exacerbated by Public Perceptions of Medicines and Safety
Date:1/29/2009

HONOLULU, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Research presented today at the American Academy of Pain Medicine's 25th Annual Meeting point to the underlying problems with the under-treatment of pain: public perceptions about their safety and patient non-compliance in the form of diversion.

Several studies at this year's meeting illuminate the issues faced by physicians and their patients in need of proper pain treatments. Two studies highlight some of the most important aspects that lead to under-treatment. The first study found that consumers know the risks of sharing prescription pain medicine, but do it anyway, likely because they perceive it to be safe because it was prescribed by a doctor. The second study revealed that only when pain patients know they are being monitored electronically -- not simply via urine screening -- will they decrease diversion of their pain medicine and eliminate taking street drugs in combination with prescribed medicines.

These studies demonstrate abuse and diversion problems that create more challenges for patients who need these medicines for chronic pain, than barriers for abusers and diverters. Because of anti-abuse policies, some patients with chronic pain can have a harder time getting proper pain treatment.

In one of the studies, a telephone survey of 413 adults age 18 and older in Utah was conducted. Researchers found that people think prescribed medicines are safer than street drugs, even though both are derived from the same natural sources. More than half surveyed (58 percent) thought sharing prescription pain medicine with family, friends, or loved ones was 'very dangerous' and 89 percent felt it was wrong to take a pain prescription that was not prescribed for them. Even so, the survey found that nearly one-fifth admitted to sharing their prescribed pain medicine (17 percent) and taking a pain medicine that was not prescribed for them (19 percent).'/>"/>

SOURCE American Academy of Pain Medicine
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