Exploring perceptions and experiences of patients who have chronic pain as state prescription opioid policies change: A qualitative study in Indiana

Morhaf Al Achkar, Debra Revere, Barbara Dennis, Palmer Mackie, Sumedha Gupta, Shaun Grannis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Objectives The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids (POs) is an epidemic in the USA today. Many states have implemented legislation to curb the use of POs resulting from inappropriate prescribing. Indiana legislated opioid prescribing rules that went into effect in December 2013. The rules changed how chronic pain is managed by healthcare providers. This qualitative study aims to evaluate the impact of Indiana's opioid prescription legislation on the patient experiences around pain management. Setting This is a qualitative study using interviews of patient and primary care providers to obtain triangulated data sources. The patients were recruited from an integrated pain clinic to which chronic pain patients were referred from federally qualified health clinics (FQHCs). The primacy care providers were recruited from the same FQHCs. The study used inductive, emergent thematic analysis. Participants Nine patient participants and five primary care providers were included in the study. Results Living with chronic pain is disruptive to patients' lives on multiple dimensions. The established pain management practices were disrupted by the change in prescription rules. Patient-provider relationships, which involve power dynamics and decision making, shifted significantly in parallel to the rule change. Conclusions As a result of the changes in pain management practice, some patients experienced significant challenges. Further studies into the magnitude of this change are necessary. In addition, exploring methods for regulating prescribing while assuring adequate access to pain management is crucial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere015083
JournalBMJ open
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017



  • chronic non cancer Pain
  • health policy
  • opioid prescribing
  • pain management
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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