Background: Inadequate adherence to prescribed analgesics may be one of the reasons why patients with cancer experience unrelieved pain. Adherence is directly influenced by patients' barriers about pain management. Patient pain education programs (PEPs) have been developed to reduce patients' barriers and increase patients' adherence to their analgesics. The purpose of this article was to evaluate patients' adherence in patients receiving a pain consult and patient pain education in comparison with patients receiving standard pain treatment (standard care [SC]), to better explore the difficulties in medication adherence in cancer-related pain and the effects of PEP. Methods: In 54 adult outpatients with cancer-related pain, patients' adherence to the prescribed around-the-clock analgesics was measured with a Medication Event Monitoring System, in the following time intervals: weeks 1 and 2, weeks 3 and 4, and weeks 7 and 8 after randomization. Adherence was differentiated into taking adherence, taking the correct dose, and taking analgesics at the right time intervals. Results: Taking adherence increased in the intervention group compared to baseline (from 91% to 93%) and decreased in the SC group (from 85% to 78%; P < 0.05). At the end of the study, more patients in the intervention group took their analgesics at the right intervals (78%) than did patients in the SC group (64%, P < 0.05). During the study, patients were more adherent to opioids than to World Health Organization step 1 analgesics. Conclusion: The combined intervention can increase adherence. The true problem in pain management is that patients do not take their prescribed analgesics at the right time intervals. With the detailed adherence information from this study, it is possible to further tailor patient education to the individual patient.

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Pain Practice
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Oldenmenger, W., Sillevis Smitt, P., de Raaf, P., & van der Rijt, C. (2017). Adherence to Analgesics in Oncology Outpatients: Focus on Taking Analgesics on Time. Pain Practice, 17(5), 616–624. doi:10.1111/papr.12490