Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 66--70

Factors influencing the initiation of strong opioids in cancer patients on palliative care: An audit from a tertiary cancer center in India

1 Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Pt. JLNGMCH, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Raviteja Miriyala
Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_89_19

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Aim: This audit was done to analyze the factors influencing the use of strong opioids in cancer patients receiving comprehensive palliative care from a tertiary institute. Materials and Methods: Case records of patients registered for palliative care at our center in 3 months were retrospectively reviewed and followed up throughout the course of their illness. Demographic factors, prior treatments, social support system, analgesic use at registration, and use of radiation and adjuvant analgesics were recorded. Strong opioid use and their time of initiation were evaluated, and multivariate analysis was used to identify the factors correlating with the above. Results: After registration, strong opioids were initiated in 16% of the patients. It was observed that patients younger than 55 years and those with visceral metastases and history of use of weak opioids at the time of registration had a higher probability of being started on strong opioids. Factors associated with a significantly longer strong opioid-free interval were having spouse as primary caregiver, presence of skeletal metastases, use of palliative radiotherapy, and low socioeconomic status. Conclusion: It is certain that the use of strong opioids for adequate analgesia is a necessity for palliative-care patients. However, optimal utilization of adjunctive analgesic modalities, coupled with good supportive care, can minimize the requirement and duration of strong opioid use, especially in developing countries with limited access to specialist palliative care.


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Online since 1st October '05
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