To conduct an Internet patient survey through the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) on reactions to the first 100 days following the rescheduling of hydrocodone.
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Face-valid survey questions were created with expert consensus along with repurposed questions used on previous NFMCPA surveys covering domains such as demographics and symptoms. The questionnaire was designed to be administered over the Internet.
6,420 responders met screening criteria and completed the survey. Most (5,181, or 82.5%) had been prescribed hydrocodone for more than 1 year. 2,296, (39.0%) reported no changes in access to hydrocodone, while the majority experienced some barriers. Of those who could no longer get hydrocodone, 1,067 (18.1%) borrowed pain medications, 1,007 (17.1%) turned to marijuana, 773 (13.1%) used alcohol, and 135 (2.3%) used illicit drugs. Most respondents had to visit their healthcare providers more often (N = 3,699, 64.2%) and 1,735 (30.3%) reported some type of issue interacting with their pharmacy. Most felt that the rescheduling was neither a fair nor appropriate solution to the abuse of hydrocodone (N = 4,938, 88.3%). For those still working, 801 (46.2%) reported that they had missed work because of the stricter regulations. 1,462 (27.2%) reported having thoughts of suicide since the rescheduling.
The unintended consequences for people with chronic pain that have been caused by the rescheduling effort to impede hydrocodone abuse are negatively impacting thousands. These consequences include suffering from being placed on less effective drugs, increased cost, inconvenience, and negative influence on physician-patient and pharmacist-patient relationships.
Source: Chambers J, Gleason RM, Kirsh KL, Twillman R, Webster L, Berner J, Fudin J, Passik SD. An Online Survey of Patients' Experiences Since the Rescheduling of Hydrocodone: The First 100 Days. Pain Med. 2015 Dec 26. pii: pnv064. [Epub ahead of print]