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American Society for Action on Pain

UI - 000143

AU - Gostomzyk JG

AU - Heller WD

TI - [Long-term use of narcotics in pain therapy]. [German]

AB - From 1. 1. 1976 to 30. 6. 1987, a total of 25,611 prescriptions for narcotics were obtained from

pharmacies by 4131 persons living in a town of 250,000 inhabitants in the Federal Republic of Germany.

2412 patients (58.4%) had been prescribed narcotics on only one occasion, 3178 patients (76.9%) over a

limited period of six months, presumably for acute pain. Only 520 patients (12.6%) received, over a period

of at least six months, five or more narcotic prescriptions per six months. Reasons for the latter prescriptions

were malignant tumours in 273 (6.6%) and chronic pain due to benign diseases in 144 (3.5%). In 21 patients

(0.5%) the narcotic dosage had risen over two years, presumably because of the development of tolerance.

19 patients had been on narcotics for at least eight years, without their doctor diagnosing addiction. The

data suggest that, in prescribing narcotics for patients with incurable disease, the risk of addiction should

play no role

SO - Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift 1990;115:763-77