Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New research examines the spiritual, psychological and other under-appreciated effects of opioids on patients with sickle cell disease

Date:
April 11, 2013
Source:
American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM)
Summary:
Researchers sought to shed light on the biopsychosocial and spiritual effects of taking prescribed opioids to treat noncancer pain. Such questions have received little examination and impact the challenging decision of when and how to use opioids, the study authors said. They found that taking opioids had many and diverse consequences for patients in terms of biological, psychological, social and spiritual functioning.

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) sought to shed light on the biopsychosocial and spiritual effects of taking prescribed opioids to treat noncancer pain. Such questions have received little examination and impact the challenging decision of when and how to use opioids, the study authors wrote in a scientific poster presented today at the 29th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. They found that taking opioids had many and diverse consequences for patients in terms of biological, psychological, social and spiritual functioning.

Related Articles


The multi-phase study, using primarily semi-structured, qualitative interviews and some quantitative components, gathered data from 21 African-American adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). SCD is an inherited blood disorder, and pain is a primary symptom. The average age of participants was 36 years old, and their demographic and socioeconomic statuses varied.

Wally R. Smith, MD, served as senior author on the study, and Abdulkhaliq Alsalman, MS, was lead author and Dr. Smith's graduate student at VCU located in Richmond, Va.

"From my research in pharmacotherapy, I realized that there was a paucity of research available about pain management and the chronic use of opioids in SCD," Mr. Alsalman said. "Also, I have personal experiences with family and friends who have chronic pain. I saw the impacts of their pain and concomitant opioid use. I saw the need to describe not only multiple individual effects of opioid use, but also a holistic picture of opioid use on patients' daily lives."

Using recorded interviews, resultant effects of prescribed opioids were first transcribed then classified into 1 of 5 effect domains: biological, psychological, social, spiritual and miscellaneous. Further, within each domain, effects were categorized as either negative or positive. However, not all patients interpreted effects as uniformly positive or negative. Different patients sometimes gave opposite interpretations and terms to the same effect. Effects mostly interpreted as negative included social withdrawal and feelings of guilt. Positive effects included independence from pain and avoidance of pity or sympathy. Divergent effects were reported on relationships, productivity in school or work, mood, social and spiritual commitments, outlook and demeanor.

"We found divergent effects of prescribed opioids in various domains among SCD patients, which likely modulate subsequent opioid taking behavior," the authors wrote. "In all types of effects, biological effects appeared to be mediators of more indirect effects which led to alterations in subsequent opioid taking behavior." For example, respondents noted opioid-induced drowsiness or inability to concentrate, which led to avoidance of prescribed opioids for even severe pain when patients had pressing family, work or religious obligations. These effects were in turn sometimes viewed as positive (e.g., ability to complete required duty), sometimes as negative (e.g., uncontrolled pain resulting in hospitalization).

The data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Grounded theory is common to social sciences and assumes almost no knowledge and the need to generate hypotheses. It draws on empirical data, which is then used to generate hypotheses or build a new theory.

Questions surrounding opioid use are significant for SCD patients. Virginia Smith, FNP, and research coordinator, stated, "I have provided care for cancer patients in their homes and for sickle cell patients in the hospital and the clinic. I have observed that patients with cancer usually experience pain, especially unrelenting or unrelieved pain, for a few weeks or months. However, for sickle cell patients, pain is a life-long journey. One of their fears is that the pain medications at some point will not continue to be effective in relief of their pain."

Armed with this research, the team is building and validating a quantitative survey that catalogs the above effects, with the goal of an adequate appreciation of the various consequences of prescribed opioids. The quantification of effects is expected to help guide prescribing decisions and rigorous testing of new hypotheses that may challenge current models of opioid-taking behavior.

"Prescribed opioids may be overused in the eyes of some physicians or underused in the eyes of others," Dr. Smith said. "We uncovered the need to describe and anticipate both underuse and overuse, linked to biopsychosocial-spiritual effects. We believe our research will facilitate better doctor-patient communication, raise providers' cultural sensitivity to patients' preferences, center prescribing behavior around patients' rather than providers' needs and, ultimately, improve quality of life for patients."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). "New research examines the spiritual, psychological and other under-appreciated effects of opioids on patients with sickle cell disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411194247.htm>.
American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). (2013, April 11). New research examines the spiritual, psychological and other under-appreciated effects of opioids on patients with sickle cell disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411194247.htm
American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). "New research examines the spiritual, psychological and other under-appreciated effects of opioids on patients with sickle cell disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411194247.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins