Chronic opioid therapy is a common treatment regimen for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD), a chronically painful recessive hemoglobinopathy. The collective risk profile of chronic opioid therapy necessitates an understanding of which pain-related factors, such as affect and pain catastrophizing, are associated with the ebbs and flows of opioid use in daily life, a topic that has received very little attention among patients with any type of chronically painful condition, including SCD. We therefore investigated the variability of day-to-day patterns of short- and long-acting opioid use and their associations with pain and pain-related cognitive and affective processes in daily life among patients with SCD using a nightly electronic diary (N = 45). Opioid use was self-reported and converted into oral morphine equivalents for analysis, which was conducted with mixed effects modeling. Results indicated that greater pain and pain catastrophizing were associated with greater use of short-acting opioids, and negative affect was associated with greater use of long-acting opioids. Additionally, the association of pain and short-acting opioid use was moderated by pain catastrophizing, showing that opioid use was elevated when patients catastrophized about their pain, even if they reported low levels of pain. These findings suggest that monitoring pain-related cognitive and affective variables may be a useful approach to understanding risk for problematic opioid use in patients with daily pain. Perspective The present study shows that pain and pain-related cognitive and affective variables are associated with daily variation in prescription opioid use in SCD. The findings may have broad implications for tracking and defining risk for prescription opioid misuse in patients with daily pain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine