Pain Management Getting Worse for Patients With Terminal Cancer

Pain Management Getting Worse for Patients With Terminal Cancer

Investigators analyzed the data for trends in opioid prescriptions written within 30 days of patients’ death or enrollment in hospice care. The researchers found a particularly steep decline in use of long-acting opioids, which provide more predictable, steady pain relief and are important for managing severe cancer pain. Between 2007-2017, the number of long-acting opioid prescriptions filled per patient fell by 50%. At the same time that patients dying of cancer were filling fewer opioid prescriptions, the proportion of these patients who visited hospital emergency departments for pain rose 50.8%. “Opioids are the cornerstone of managing moderate to severe cancer pain,” she continues.

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