Patient Values and Preferences Regarding Opioids for Chronic Noncancer Pain: A Systematic Review
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Objective: Shared-care decision-making between patients and clinicians involves making trade-offs between desirable and undesirable consequences of management strategies. Although patient values and preferences should provide the basis for these trade-offs, few guidelines consider the relevant evidence when formulating recommendations. To inform a guideline for use of opioids in patients with chronic noncancer pain, we conducted a systematic review of studies exploring values and preferences of affected patients toward opioid therapy. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PsycINFO from the inception of each database through October 2016. We included studies examining patient preferences for alternative approaches to managing chronic noncancer pain and studies that assessed how opioid-using chronic noncancer pain patients value alternative health states and their experiences with treatment. We compiled structured summaries of the results. Results: Pain relief and nausea and vomiting were ranked as highly significant outcomes across studies. When considered, the adverse effect of personality changes was rated as equally important. Constipation was assessed in most studies and was an important outcome, secondary to pain relief and nausea and vomiting. Of only two studies that evaluated addiction, both found it less important to patients than pain relief. No studies examined opioid overdose, death, or diversion. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the adverse effects of opioids, especially nausea and vomiting, may reduce or eliminate any net benefit of opioid therapy unless pain relief is significant (>2 points on a 10-point scale). Further research should investigate patient values and preferences regarding opioid overdose, diversion, and death.
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