Reimbursement of analgesics for chronic pain

Line Pedersen, Anneli Borge Hansen, Kristian Svendsen, Svetlana Skurtveit, Petter C Borchgrevink, Olav Magnus S Fredheim
Tidsskrift for Den Norske Lægeforening: Tidsskrift for Praktisk Medicin, Ny Række 2012 November 27, 132 (22): 2489-93

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of chronic non-malignant pain in Norway is between 24% and 30%. The proportion of the population using opioids for non-malignant pain on a long-term basis is around 1%. The purpose of our study was to investigate how many were prescribed analgesics on reimbursable prescription under reimbursement code -71 (chronic non-malignant pain) in 2009 and 2010, which analgesics were prescribed and whether prescribing practices were in accordance with national guidelines.

MATERIAL AND METHOD: We retrieved pseudonymised data from the National Prescription Database on all those who received drugs with reimbursement code -71 in 2009 and 2010. The data contain information on drug, dosage, formulation, reimbursement code and date of issue.

RESULTS: 90,731 patients received reimbursement for drugs indicated for chronic non-malignant pain in 2010. Of these, 6,875 were given opioids, 33,242 received paracetamol, 25,865 non-steroid inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), 20,654 amitryptiline and 16,507 gabapentin. Oxycodone was the most frequently prescribed opioid, followed by buprenorphine, tramadol and codeine/paracetamol. Of those who were prescribed opioids, 4,047 (59%) received mainly slow-release opioids, 2,631 (38%) also received benzodiazepines and 2,418 (35%) received benzodiazepine-like sleep medications.

CONCLUSION: The number of patients who received analgesics and opioids on reimbursable prescriptions was low compared to the proportion of the population with chronic pain and the proportion using opioids long-term. 38% of those reimbursed for opioids also used benzodiazepines, which is contrary to official Norwegian guidelines.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"