Pain prevalence, severity and interference in an Australian opioid agonist treatment sample
Nielsen, S and Larance, B and Black, E and Lintzeris, N and Degenhardt, L and Ali, R and Cohen, M and Dunlop, A and Bruno, RB and Rivas, G and Brown, A and Holland, R, Pain prevalence, severity and interference in an Australian opioid agonist treatment sample, Drug and Alochol Review, 18-21 November 2012, Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 29. ISSN 0959-5236 (2012) [Conference Extract]
Introduction and Aims: Amongst international samples of
methadone patients, high levels pain have been reported, for example
one representative US study of methadone patients found 37% of
had chronic severe pain and 80% reported any pain in the past week.
Few studies have described pain prevalence in Australian opioid
agonist treatments (OAT) populations. As such, this study aimed to
describe the pain prevalence in an Australian OAT sample to better
inform treatment needs.
Design and Methods: Data on pain, physical health and previous
tried pain treatments were collected in a convenience sample of 141
OAT patients in NSW. Measures included basic demographics, the
Brief Pain Inventory, general health questions (Composite
International Diagnostic Interview), pain history and previous
treatments. Comparisons were made between methadone (n = 98)
and buprenorphine (n = 43) patients.
Results: Sixty percent of the sample rated their health as good to
excellent, with 40% reporting current pain. Of those with current
pain, 68% reported trialling some form of non-opioid treatment. For
those with pain, the mean pain severity score was 4.64 (SD 2.38),
and mean pain interference score was 5.42 (SD 2.60), indicating
moderate pain severity and interference. No differences were detected
between methadone and buprenorphine patients on current pain,
pain severity or pain interference.
Discussion and Conclusions: Pain amongst this sample of OAT
patients appears less prevalent than previously described in US
samples. Further work to specifi cally examine chronic pain may be
warranted, as well as examining if treatment outcomes differ for those
with and without current pain.