New York: Despite suffering severe pain, about one in three older cancer patients do not end up taking opioids, the most potent of analgesics, according to a new study from Canada.It`s not clear why these patients are not getting their pain treated with opioids, which include morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl. It could be that physicians are not prescribing the medications or that patients are getting prescriptions, but not filling them.They don`t have to be in pain. There`s effective treatment out there," said Dr. Paul Glare, the chief of Pain and Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who was not involved in this study.The researchers gathered information over two years on all cancer patients over age 65 in Ontario, Canada who had been screened for pain.Of more than 24,000 people included in the study, 20 percent reported that they had severe pain.The team looked to see how many of them got a prescription filled for an opioid painkiller, also known as a narcotic.A third of the high-pain group did not fill a prescription within either the month before the pain screening or the week after.I`m not sure I know what the number should have been, but I think I was hoping it would have been a smaller number than that," said Dr. Lisa Barbera, the lead author of the study and a researcher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.Glare said he would like to see the number closer to three percent.
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