Joji Suzuki, MD
Director, Division of Addiction Psychiatry
Director of Addictions Education
Department of Psychiatry
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
June 10, 2014
Hospitalized patients often experience significant pain associated with their illnesses or injuries, and even those actively addicted to opioids may still require pain relief. However, research has almost exclusively focused on outpatients with chronic pain rather than medical inpatients with acute pain.
In the absence of objective biomarkers for pain, differentiating those patients in acute pain from those who are seeking opioids for non-medical reasons remains challenging in the acute medical setting. Patients misusing opioids are prone to painful conditions from trauma, soft-tissue infections, and overall poor health. They may require higher opioid doses due to tolerance and hyperalgesia, and may be undertreated due to bias about addiction.
Given that adequate pain relief has become an important goal in hospital settings, this presentation will provide some guidance on how to assess and manage medical inpatients who may be requesting prescription opioids for non-medical reasons.