QIM19-115: Barriers and Trends in Cancer Patients` Pain Management in Qatar: A Randomized Cohort Prospective Study

Background: Up to 70% of cancer patients experience pain during the course of illness (Fallon, Support Care Cancer 2008). Studies showed that 40%–50% of patients with cancer pain receive insufficient analgesia due to different factors. Physicians are facing different challenges to accurately assess pain which might affect drug selection and pain control (Beyeler et al, Support Care Cancer 2008; Salminen et al, Support Cancer Care 2008; Stewart, Ulster Med J 2014). In NCCCR, treating physicians may prescribe analgesics to their patients or refer them to the Pain Management Service (PMS) based on their evaluation or as requested by patients. This study explored the factors which might lead to undertreatment of cancer pain in Qatar. In addition, focused on cancer patients’ pain management satisfaction and PMS awareness. Objectives: To assess the existing PMS at NCCCR from patients' perspective. Methods: In this study, we evaluated patients’ pain management perception via a validated written (Arabic and English) questionnaire (SF-MPQ-2; available at https://eprovide.mapi-trust.org/instruments/short-form-mcgill-pain-questionnaire#DESCRIPTIVE_INFORMATION; Gauthier et al, J Pain 2014) and a structured interview by outpatient pharmacists at a single point of time, to assess patients` awareness towards the PMS, if they are receiving pain medications or not, if they are experiencing any pain regardless on pain medications or not, pain severity, and patients’ level of satisfaction towards their medications. A sample of 400 patients was randomly selected amongst the total cancer population visiting NCCCR Pharmacy over a specific period of time. Participants were consented and interviewed. Results: 400 patients agreed to participate; the median age was 50. Male to female ratio was 3 to 7. Data showed that 61% (245/400) of participants were not aware of the existence of the PMS. Only 20% (78/400) were aware and followed by PMS, with a satisfaction rate of 76% (59/78). Although 69% (276/400) of the patients were on pain medications, only 70% (191/276) were satisfied with their current medications. However from the satisfied patients, 57% (109/191) rated their pain as 4–10 at the time of interview (ATI). In the 31% (124/400) that were not taking any pain medications; 77% (96/124) didn’t know about the PMS, and 44% (55/124) had 4–10 pain severity (ATI). Conclusion: These findings provide clear evidence that factors leading to undertreating of cancer pain in Qatar might be unawareness of the PMS existence, pain treatment by unspecialized physicians, and patients’ reluctance to express their pain. Thus, raising patients’ awareness and standardizing the referral criteria can improve pain control and quality of life amongst cancer patients.

Abstract

Background: Up to 70% of cancer patients experience pain during the course of illness (Fallon, Support Care Cancer 2008). Studies showed that 40%–50% of patients with cancer pain receive insufficient analgesia due to different factors. Physicians are facing different challenges to accurately assess pain which might affect drug selection and pain control (Beyeler et al, Support Care Cancer 2008; Salminen et al, Support Cancer Care 2008; Stewart, Ulster Med J 2014). In NCCCR, treating physicians may prescribe analgesics to their patients or refer them to the Pain Management Service (PMS) based on their evaluation or as requested by patients. This study explored the factors which might lead to undertreatment of cancer pain in Qatar. In addition, focused on cancer patients’ pain management satisfaction and PMS awareness. Objectives: To assess the existing PMS at NCCCR from patients' perspective. Methods: In this study, we evaluated patients’ pain management perception via a validated written (Arabic and English) questionnaire (SF-MPQ-2; available at https://eprovide.mapi-trust.org/instruments/short-form-mcgill-pain-questionnaire#DESCRIPTIVE_INFORMATION; Gauthier et al, J Pain 2014) and a structured interview by outpatient pharmacists at a single point of time, to assess patients` awareness towards the PMS, if they are receiving pain medications or not, if they are experiencing any pain regardless on pain medications or not, pain severity, and patients’ level of satisfaction towards their medications. A sample of 400 patients was randomly selected amongst the total cancer population visiting NCCCR Pharmacy over a specific period of time. Participants were consented and interviewed. Results: 400 patients agreed to participate; the median age was 50. Male to female ratio was 3 to 7. Data showed that 61% (245/400) of participants were not aware of the existence of the PMS. Only 20% (78/400) were aware and followed by PMS, with a satisfaction rate of 76% (59/78). Although 69% (276/400) of the patients were on pain medications, only 70% (191/276) were satisfied with their current medications. However from the satisfied patients, 57% (109/191) rated their pain as 4–10 at the time of interview (ATI). In the 31% (124/400) that were not taking any pain medications; 77% (96/124) didn’t know about the PMS, and 44% (55/124) had 4–10 pain severity (ATI). Conclusion: These findings provide clear evidence that factors leading to undertreating of cancer pain in Qatar might be unawareness of the PMS existence, pain treatment by unspecialized physicians, and patients’ reluctance to express their pain. Thus, raising patients’ awareness and standardizing the referral criteria can improve pain control and quality of life amongst cancer patients.

Background: Up to 70% of cancer patients experience pain during the course of illness (Fallon, Support Care Cancer 2008). Studies showed that 40%–50% of patients with cancer pain receive insufficient analgesia due to different factors. Physicians are facing different challenges to accurately assess pain which might affect drug selection and pain control (Beyeler et al, Support Care Cancer 2008; Salminen et al, Support Cancer Care 2008; Stewart, Ulster Med J 2014). In NCCCR, treating physicians may prescribe analgesics to their patients or refer them to the Pain Management Service (PMS) based on their evaluation or as requested by patients. This study explored the factors which might lead to undertreatment of cancer pain in Qatar. In addition, focused on cancer patients’ pain management satisfaction and PMS awareness. Objectives: To assess the existing PMS at NCCCR from patients' perspective. Methods: In this study, we evaluated patients’ pain management perception via a validated written (Arabic and English) questionnaire (SF-MPQ-2; available at https://eprovide.mapi-trust.org/instruments/short-form-mcgill-pain-questionnaire#DESCRIPTIVE_INFORMATION; Gauthier et al, J Pain 2014) and a structured interview by outpatient pharmacists at a single point of time, to assess patients` awareness towards the PMS, if they are receiving pain medications or not, if they are experiencing any pain regardless on pain medications or not, pain severity, and patients’ level of satisfaction towards their medications. A sample of 400 patients was randomly selected amongst the total cancer population visiting NCCCR Pharmacy over a specific period of time. Participants were consented and interviewed. Results: 400 patients agreed to participate; the median age was 50. Male to female ratio was 3 to 7. Data showed that 61% (245/400) of participants were not aware of the existence of the PMS. Only 20% (78/400) were aware and followed by PMS, with a satisfaction rate of 76% (59/78). Although 69% (276/400) of the patients were on pain medications, only 70% (191/276) were satisfied with their current medications. However from the satisfied patients, 57% (109/191) rated their pain as 4–10 at the time of interview (ATI). In the 31% (124/400) that were not taking any pain medications; 77% (96/124) didn’t know about the PMS, and 44% (55/124) had 4–10 pain severity (ATI). Conclusion: These findings provide clear evidence that factors leading to undertreating of cancer pain in Qatar might be unawareness of the PMS existence, pain treatment by unspecialized physicians, and patients’ reluctance to express their pain. Thus, raising patients’ awareness and standardizing the referral criteria can improve pain control and quality of life amongst cancer patients.

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Corresponding Author: Rehab Abdelwahab, MSc, BSc, RPh