WEDNESDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Many black patients and
women with chronic pain receive inadequate treatment for their pain
while being treated by a primary care doctor, a U.S. study has
Researchers looked at nearly 200 patients with chronic pain and
found that black patients were prescribed fewer pain medications
than whites, and that doses of pain medications received by women
were often too weak to manage chronic pain.
On average, black patients were taking 1.8 pain medications,
compared with 2.6 medications among white patients. In addition,
only 21 percent of women were prescribed a strong opioid pain drug
compared to 30 percent of men, the investigators found.
Overall, young men received better pain management, according to
the University of Michigan Health System researchers.
The study authors noted that inadequate control of chronic pain
can lead to sleep problems, depression and disability.
"Most patients first seek help for pain from their primary care doctor. If we are to reduce or eliminate disparities in pain care, we have to support successful primary care interventions," lead author Dr. Carmen R. Green said in a university news release.
The researchers didn't ask physicians about their prescribing
practices but did collect patients' opinions about barriers to
"Men and women differed on a single item -- the notion, primarily among women, to save medication in case pain gets worse. Blacks also more strongly endorsed that it was easier to put up with pain than the side effects of medication," Green stated in the news release.
The study is published in the August issue of the
Journal of Pain.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about