Korean J Pain.  2020 Jul;33(3):234-244. 10.3344/kjp.2020.33.3.234.

Patients’ perception about opioids and addiction in South Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Jeong-clinic, Seoul, Korea
  • 5Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Eunpyeong St. Mary’s Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 7Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea
  • 8Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

Background
Chronic pain affects approximately 22% of the world’s population. Opioids can be useful in chronic pain management. However, some patients have negative perception of opioids. The purpose of this research was to evaluate patients’ perception about opioids and investigate problems associated with prescribing and taking opioids in South Korea.
Methods
Patients who visited a pain clinic in 14 university hospitals of South Korea from September through October 2018 were asked to complete anonymous questionnaires about taking opioids.
Results
Of the 368 patients that were surveyed (female 53.3%, male 46.7%), 56.8% were prescribed opioids. In the opioid group, 92.8% patients had heard of opioids from their doctor and 72.6% of them had a positive perception about opioids. The side effects associated with opioid use were constipation (35.4%), dizziness (24.6%), nausea and vomiting (17.4%), dysuria (6.2%), and addiction (2.0%). In the no opioid group, the primary sources of information about opioids were doctors (49.2%), mass media (30.8%), and the internet (16.2%). The main reasons why 39.0% patients did not take opioids were fear of addiction (57.7%) and side effects (38.5%). There were 71.5% and 60.9% patients in the opioid and no opioid group, respectively, who wished to take opioids when their numeric rating scale pain score was ≥ 7.
Conclusions
Perception of opioids among patients who take them was either neutral or positive. However, 39.0% patients who have not been prescribed opioids did not want an opioid prescription, citing fear of addiction and side effects as the primary reasons.

Keyword

Analgesics, Opioid; Behavior, Addictive; Chronic Pain; Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions; Opioid-Related Disorders; Outpatients; Pain Management; Physicians; Surveys and Questionnaires
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