Just 30% of the patients with chronic pain takes medication correctly

The latest study carried out by the Observatory of Pain concludes that just 30% of the patients that suffer chronic pain take the treatment according to the recommendations of doctors. In spite of this data, more than 80% of survey respondents confirm to take the medication just like their doctors said. This analysis, carried out with the help of doctors in charge of chronic pain, has been based on a valid scale to calculate adherence

Objective: To increase the adherence to alleviate pain

Chronic pain is a problem that affects one in five adults in Spain. This reality, beyond the numerical data, is a public health problem with an evident social and economic repercussion.

Pharmacological treatment is, at this point, an essential element for the control of pain in patients who suffer from chronic pain: two in three patients who suffer from it are taking some analgesic medicine prescribed by a doctor.

To raise awareness within patients, the starting point

Knowing that not all patients take the medication following the indications received by the professionals who treat them, the Observatory of Pain carried out this study with a clear objective: to know the prevalence of adherence to analgesic treatment in patients with chronic pain in the Spanish population and to analyse the factors that are associated to the the lack of adherence. 

This work shows that, although 80.9% of the patients claimed to take the medication as their doctors had indicated, only 30% of these patients actually followed these recommendations ( a validated scale was used to calculate the adherence). The reasons for this lack of adherence? Forgetfulness, taking medication at another time than is due or stopping it when the patient is feeling better.

The study also shows that the adherence rate does not vary depending on the age or sex of the patien, but it does depends on the cause of the pain. So, the ones who suffer arthritis or osteoarthritis, migraine, central pain or fibromyalgia are more adherent than those with back pain or osteoporosis. In addition, patients with more intensity of pain and with more economic difficulties follow the doctor’s indications better than the rest. 

Besides outstanding the need to evaluate the therapeutic adherence rate in a correct way, the study evidence the need to increase patients’ awareness of the importance of following the doctor’s indications to get a better control of the pain. 

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