Opioid prescribing for cancer pain

Opioid prescribing for cancer pain during the last 3 months of life: associated factors and 9-year trends in a nationwide United Kingdom cohort study

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 12:00 AM PST

Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology

Purpose: To determine time trends and characteristics associated with opioid analgesic prescribing to patients with cancer who are approaching the end of life.

Patients and Methods: This population-based cohort study used data on 29,825 patients diagnosed with five common cancers – lung (34.2%), colorectal (19.9%), female breast (21.6%), prostate (19.1%) and head and neck (5.2%) – in the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database (GPRD) who died between 2000 and 2008.  Opioid prescription rates in the last 3 months of life were described.  Characteristics associated with opioid prescribing were investigated by using generalised estimation equation models. Results: In the last 3 months of life, 43.6% (95% CI, 43.0% to 44.2%) of patients received at least one prescription of opioids: morphine (33.4%; 95% CI, 32.8% to 33.9%), diamorphine (11.6%; 95% CI, 11.2% to 11.9%) and fentanyl family (10.2%; 95% CI, 9.8% to 10.5%).  Over time, prescription rates …