Opioid Use, Misuse, and Abuse in Patients Labeled as Fibromyalgia

Division of Rheumatology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The American journal of medicine (Impact Factor: 5). 10/2011; 124(10):955-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.05.031
Source: PubMed


As pain is the cardinal symptom of fibromyalgia, it is logical that treatments directed toward pain relief will be commonly used. Analgesic drug therapy remains the traditional treatment intervention for most chronic pain conditions, with a progressive increased use of opioids in the past 20 years. Concerns about efficacy, risk-benefit ratio, and possible long-term effects of chronic opioid therapy have been raised. There is limited information about opioid treatment in fibromyalgia, with all current guidelines discouraging opioid use.
A chart review of all patients referred to a tertiary care pain center clinic with a referring diagnosis of fibromyalgia was conducted to evaluate use of opioid medications.
We have recorded opioid use by 32% of 457 patients referred to a multidisciplinary fibromyalgia clinic, with over two thirds using strong opioids. Opioid use was more commonly associated with lower education, unemployment, disability payments, current unstable psychiatric disorder, a history of substance abuse, and previous suicide attempts.
We have observed negative health and psychosocial status in patients using opioids and labeled as fibromyalgia. Prolonged use of opioids in fibromyalgia requires evaluation.

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    • "This study, wherein drug use was openly observed, received ethics approval by the Ethics Committee of the Montreal General Hospital. The study cohort has previously been described [3] "
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    ABSTRACT: As pain is the cardinal symptom of fibromyalgia (FM), strategies directed towards pain relief are an integral component of treatment. Opioid medications comprise a category of pharmacologic treatments which have impact on pain in various conditions with best evidence for acute pain relief. Although opioid therapy other than tramadol has never been formally tested for treatment of pain in FM, these agents are commonly used by patients. We have examined the effect of opioid treatments in patients diagnosed with FM and followed longitudinally in a multidisciplinary pain center over a period of 2 years. In this first study reporting on health related measures and opioid use in FM, opioid users had poorer symptoms and functional and occupational status compared to nonusers. Although opioid users may originally have had more severe symptoms at the onset of disease, we have no evidence that these agents improved status beyond standard care and may even have contributed to a less favourable outcome. Only a formal study of opioid use in FM will clarify this issue, but until then physicians must be vigilant regarding the multiple adverse consequences of opioid therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Pain Research and Treatment
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    • "Recently, opioid use among socioeconomically disadvantaged patients in Ontario has increased substantially [17]. Similarly, patients using opioids were more likely to be unemployed, implying economic disadvantage [18]. As well, higher socioeconomic status was found to be related to decreased use of analgesics and sedatives [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Tracking how clinicians treat patients provides an opportunity to explore how the clinical management of common musculoskeletal disorders evolves over time. We present an uncontrolled before-after study of a primary care physician’s management of low back pain and describe how his involvement in an interprofessional collaborative practice was associated with a change in the management of patients with low back pain. Method Data from the electronic medical record of one primary care physician who participated in a study of a model of chiropractic-medical collaboration were retrospectively collected. Records of a sample of consecutive patients prior to the start (i.e. pre-study, n = 51) and at the end of the collaborative study (i.e. study, n = 49) were collected. Results Demographics were similar in both groups but median number of physician visits (2.5 and 1.0), average prescriptions per patients (1.24 and 0.47), and total number of narcotic prescriptions (14 and 6) differed between pre-study and study groups, respectively. Separate analysis of only the records of low back pain study patients revealed that 61% were referred for chiropractic care during the study period. Patients who were not referred had more neurological deficits and leg pain but back pain severity and average number of prescriptions was about the same. Referred patients in the study group had about 25% fewer physician visits and imaging requests. Conclusion Based on this study of a single primary care physician, we hypothesize that doctors may change their prescribing behaviours and consultation rate for patients with low back pain when engaged in interprofessional collaborative care. Further research is required to test this observation in the population.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Chiropractic and Manual Therapies
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The prescription of opioids for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) is not recommended for all of them, and can expose the patients to a benefit/risk ratio unfavorable. The objective of this study was to evaluate the management of patients hospitalized at the centre for evaluation and treatment of pain for opioid withdrawal, their outcome during hospitalization. Method: This is a retrospective descriptive study. The medical record of each patient was consulted to identify relevant data (demographics, treatments at the entrance and discharge of hospitalization, comorbidities, rating scale of pain). Results: During the study period (3 years), 53 patients (64% of women), with a median age of 52 years, were included. Pain was mainly back pain and neck pain (52%). Morphine (43%) and fentanyl (42%) were the most frequently used opioids. At admission, 62% of patients had a depressive state. At hospital discharge, withdrawal was total in 18 patients (34%) and a total improvement of pain was observed for 19% of them. Conclusion: In this study, 57% of patients received, at admission to hospital, an opioid other than morphine in the treatment of CNCP. The management of pain offered by the pain clinic led to a total or partial opioid withdrawal in 94% of patients.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Thérapie
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