Opioids and the treatment of chronic pain in a primary care sample

Nancy J. Adams, Mary Beth Plane*, Michael F. Fleming, Marlon P. Mundt, Laura A. Saunders, Ellyn A. Stauffacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Chronic pain is a widespread, difficult problem facing clinicians. This study assessed the current medical management of a general population of patients with chronic pain in 12 family medicine practices located throughout the state of Wisconsin. Medical record audits were conducted on a sample of 209 adults. Sixty-seven percent were female with an average age of 53 years. The most common pain diagnoses included lumbar/low back (44%), joint disease/arthritis (33%), and headache/migraine (28%) pain. The most frequently prescribed opioids were oxycodone/acetaminophen (31%), morphine ERT (19%), Tylenol #3 (15%), and hydrocodone/acetaminophen (14%). Depression/affective disorders were reported in 36% of the patient charts, anxiety/panic disorders (15%), drug abuse (6%), and alcohol abuse (3%). Written drug contracts were utilized by 42% (n = 31) of the practitioners, pain scales 25% (n = 29), and urine toxicology screens 8% (n = 6). This study suggests that primary care practitioners have unique opportunities to identify and successfully treat patients with chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-796
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Family medicine
  • Joint disease
  • Lumbar/low back
  • Medical management
  • Mental illness
  • Opioids
  • Physician protocols
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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