Study Suggests Women and Blacks Receive Inadequate Pain Medication
Women, blacks receive inadequate pain medication, study finds
This is a direct reprint of the study report out of the Detroit News
Kim Kozlowski / The Detroit News
African Americans who are in chronic pain are prescribed fewer medications than whites, and women often do not get strong enough drugs to manage their suffering, according to a study published in this month's issue of Journal of Pain.
Changes to this disparity needs to begin with primary care physicians, said the University of Michigan researchers who conducted the study.
"Most patients first seek help for pain from their primary care doctor," said U-M pain medicine specialist and anesthesiologist Dr. Carmen R. Green,lead author of the study. "If we are to reduce or eliminate disparities in pain care, we have to support successful primary care interventions."
The study examined the number and potency of the pain medicine taken by 200 patients who sought care at a specialty pain center.
Before they were referred, black patients were taking 1.8 medications compared to 2.6 medicines taken by whites.
But the gap was worse between the genders: 21 percent of women were taking a strong pain killer versus 30 percent of men.
Access to care, along with previous research, suggests that the suffering of women and people of color gets less treatment from health care professionals.
"Men and women differed on a single item -- the notion, primarily among women, to save medication in case pain gets worse. Blacks also more strongly endorsed that it was easier to put up with pain than the side effects of medication," said Green, faculty associate with the Program for Research on Black Americans at U-M.