Opioid management and dependency among adult patients with sickle cell disease.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

While pain is one of the most debilitating symptoms of sickle cell disease, narcotics remain an effective although controversial widely practiced intervention. Vaso-occlusive crises are the most common cause for seeking pharmacological treatment. The influence of stigmatization and pseudo addiction in emergency departments and outpatient clinics was reviewed. We analyzed patterns of narcotic utilization in a sample of 63 adult patients with sickle cell disease to determine if their psychological functioning and reports of pain differed as a function of the primary narcotics they were taking for oral pain management. Fifty-one percent of patients reported treatment of Oxycodone, 35% OxyContin, 24% methadone and 11% morphine. Patients who were treated with Oxycodone reported greater sensory reactions to pain (p = 0.001), visual analog scale (VAS) (p = 0.02), and averaged weekly pain intensity ratings than patients who did not use this medication. There were no differences in pain or affective response in patients treated with OxyContin, methadone or morphine. We suggest there are clear differences between the reports of pain in patients with sickle cell disease taking short-acting narcotics for pain management as compared to those who are not, a pattern that does not distinguish patients who are managed with long-acting preparations. We discuss the relevance of addressing narcotic management in the context of the perception of health care providers and patients with sickle cell disease.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Feliu, MH; Wellington, C; Crawford, RD; Wood, M; Edwards, L; Byrd, G; Edwards, CL

Published Date

  • 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 485 - 494

PubMed ID

  • 21910605

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-432X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3109/03630269.2011.610914


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England