To elucidate women’s experiences with opioid medications and their perspectives on provider education regarding opioid use, risks and safety.
Women with a self-reported history of pain who had been prescribed opioids were recruited in 2016 using a convenience sampling approach that included an online social media campaign. Participants (N=154) completed online surveys and open-ended questions regarding their experiences with pain and opioids, and their perspectives on the quality of education they received from their providers.
Participants reported receiving insufficient education about opioid-related side effects, as reflected in both ratings for the quantity and quality of education they received from their providers. Non-white participants reported lower quantity and poorer quality of provider education (p<0.05). Themes identified from the qualitative data included frustrations with pain management options, fear of opioids, stigma associated with opioid use, and the need for improved provider education and patient-provider communication.
Findings suggest that from a patient’s perspective, there is a need for enhanced patient-provider communication and education regarding pain management and potential opioid-related side effects. Improved physician communication and education could promote shared decision-making and result in enhanced satisfaction with care and health outcomes.