Background The management of pain is one of the priorities of our hospital, which specialises in follow-up and rehabilitation care. A lack of knowledge about the pain and its treatment can limit the patient’s adherence to painkillers and lead to side effects or overdose.
Purpose To create a teaching aid on the treatment of pain. It was written with the cooperation of two doctors. A questionnaire was developed to assess patients’ knowledge of the painkillers they had been prescribed.
Materials and Methods A list of open questions about painkillers was developed:
name of their painkiller (International Nonproprietary Name (INN), trade name),
the dosage, when to take the drugs, the maximum daily dose/time interval between doses,
the meaning of ‘sustained-release drug’ and ‘orodispersible’,
side effects and how to avoid them, contraindications, possible drug interactions,
how to use painkillers depending on the intensity of the pain,
withdrawal from tramadol and codeine,
alternatives to pain treatment.
Eleven patients were interviewed.
Results Overall, patients knew the trade name of their painkiller (72%) but only 9% of patients knew the INN. 72% could quote the exact dose. 54% of patients knew the maximum daily dose and the period of time between doses. Nearly all patients didn’t know the meaning of ‘sustained-release drug’ and ‘orodispersible’ (81% and 91%). The use of painkillers depending on pain intensity was well reported in 5 cases (45%). Side effects and how to avoid them, contraindications and possible drug interactions, were not well known subjects. Finally, 27% of patients quoted alternatives to pain treatment.
Conclusions This assessment enabled us to target patients’ lack of knowledge about painkillers and to develop a booklet providing all the information required. This leaflet has been checked by doctors. Patients who were part of this study gave feedback on the booklet, which will now be distributed to patients.
No conflict of interest.
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