Opioid prescription use is more common in cancer survivors than in individuals without a history of the disease, a study led by an Indian origin scientist has found.
Researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada found that the rate of opioid prescribing was 1.22 times higher among cancer survivors than corresponding matched controls.
“Our research findings raise concerns about the diagnosis and management of chronic pain problems among survivors stemming from their cancer diagnosis or treatment,” said Rinku Sutradhar, associate professor at University of Toronto.
Over a 36-month period, the average number of opioid prescriptions filled by survivors was 7.7, compared with 6.3 for controls.
This increased rate of opioid prescribing was also seen among survivors who were 10 or more years past their cancer diagnosis, researchers said.
Individuals with lower income, and those who were younger, from rural neighbourhood’s, and with more comorbidities had significantly higher prescribing rates. Sex was not associated with prescribing rates, they said.
“Physicians providing primary care to cancer survivors should consider close examination of reasons for continued opioid use to differentiate chronic pain from dependency,” Sutradhar added.
The study was published in the journal Cancer.