In an interview study reported in JCO Oncology Practice, Yael Schenker, MD, MAS, and colleagues identified challenges and measures for improvement cited by oncologists in the safe and effective prescribing of opioids for their patients with cancer-related pain.
Yael Schenker, MD, MAS
The investigators conducted interviews of 26 oncologists from urban and rural practices in Western Pennsylvania, with the interview guide querying oncologists regarding their views and experiences in treating cancer-related pain in the context of the opioid epidemic. Analysis of interview transcripts was performed by a multidisciplinary team to identify and refine themes related to challenges in opioid prescribing and recommendations for improvement.
Oncologists described three main challenges in prescribing opioids for cancer-related pain:
Recommendations for improving safe and effective prescribing were broken down into four main categories:
Education for Patients and Families
Education and Treatment Resources for Oncologists
The investigators concluded, “Challenges to safe and effective opioid prescribing for cancer-related pain include … stigma and access barriers. Interventions that address opioid stigma and provide additional resources for clinicians navigating complex opioid prescribing guidelines may help to optimize cancer pain treatment.”
Disclosure: The study was supported by a grant from the Hillman Development Fund and the Palliative Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh and National Cancer Institute. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit ascopubs.org.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.