Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 176--178

Analgesic and opioid use in pain associated with head-and-neck radiation therapy

Department of Radiation Oncology, St. John's Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sandeep Muzumder
St. John's Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_145_17

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Aim: The aim of the study is to find the incidence of analgesic and opioid use in pain associated in HNC patient undergoing radiation therapy. Background: Radiation therapy with concurrent chemotherapy has become the standard of care in head and neck cancer. Acute toxicity like mucositis and dysphagia has increased with aggressive therapy. Pain is an invariable accompaniment of oropharyngeal mucositis, which leads to decreased quality of life and treatment break. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective review of radiation charts of head and neck patients treated from January 2013 to June 2017 at St. John's Medical college and Hospital, Bengaluru. Results: A total of 138 (92%) patients required analgesia during the radiation course. The analgesic consumption started increasing from week 2, peaked at week 5, persist for 6 weeks and started declining after week 10. 52% patients required opioids, especially from week 4 to week 8. 15% of patients required Morphine, the maximum use in week 6 to week 8. The use of chemotherapy (P = 0.031), presence of grade 3 mucositis (P = 0.010) and grade 3 dysphagia (P = 0.001) were significantly associated with severe pain (use of strong opioids). All 80 (100%) patients receiving concurrent chemotherapy required analgesia. More than 80% patients required opioids and one fourth required strong analgesic in concurrent chemotherapy group. Conclusion: More than 90% of all head and neck cancer patient undergoing radiation therapy experience therapy related pain for more than 6 weeks. 53% of the patients require opioids and 15% require strong opioids. The use of concurrent chemotherapy was significantly associated with severe pain.


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