Alternatives to opioids for managing chronic pain: a patient education programme in the US
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Alternatives to opioids for managing chronic pain: a patient education programme in the US

Carrie Ann Matyac Assistant professor, nursing, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, US
Heidi McLaughlin Associate professor, psychology, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, US

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the risks of opioid use for managing non-malignant chronic pain

  • To read about a US-based pilot project that aimed to support patients to manage their pain and reduce their use of opioids

  • To appreciate the benefits of multidisciplinary education programmes to support patients to reduce their opioid use when managing non-malignant chronic pain

As the US is experiencing an opioid epidemic, patients with non-malignant chronic pain must understand the risks of opioids and identify safe and effective treatment alternatives. Multidisciplinary pain management programmes have been shown to be effective in reducing non-malignant chronic pain. A pilot project was conducted in a primary care clinic in the US with the aim of educating patients on the neurophysiology of pain, biopsychosocial responses to pain, risks and benefits of opioids and non-opioid alternatives, and pain management techniques. The programme was shown to be associated with use of reduced amounts of opioids, reduced catastrophising and reduced pain among the 13 participants. After the programme, participants reported having a better understanding of pain and pain management and being willing to work with primary care clinicians to decrease their use of opioids. Programmes that teach patients how to manage chronic pain and reduce opioid use are crucial to addressing the opioid epidemic in the US.

Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2022.e1784

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

matyacca@plu.edu

Conflict of interest

None declared

Matyac CA, McLaughlin H (2022) Alternatives to opioids for managing chronic pain: a patient education programme in the US. Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2022.e1784

Published online: 09 November 2022

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