Characterizing pain and associated coping strategies in methadone and buprenorphine-maintained patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic pain is common among patients receiving opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) for opioid use disorder. To aid development of treatment recommendations for coexisting pain and opioid use disorder, it is necessary to characterize pain treatment needs and assess whether needs differ as a function of OMT medication. Methods: A point-prevalence survey assessing pain and engagement in coping strategies was administered to 179 methadone and buprenorphine-maintained patients. Results: Forty-two percent of participants were categorized as having chronic pain. Methadone patients had greater severity of pain relative to buprenorphine patients, though both groups reported high levels of interference with daily activities, and participants with pain attended the emergency room more frequently relative to participants without pain. Only 2 coping strategies were being utilized by more than 50% of participants (over-the-counter medication, prayer). Conclusions: Results indicate that pain among OMT patients is common, severe, and of significant impairment. Methadone patients reported greater severity pain, particularly worse pain in the past 24 h, though interference from pain in daily activities did not vary as a function of OMT. Most participants with pain were utilizing few evidenced-based pain coping strategies. Increasing OMT patient access to additional pain treatment strategies is an opportunity for immediate intervention, and similarities across OMT type suggest interventions do not need to be customized to methadone vs. buprenorphine patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - 2015


  • Buprenorphine
  • Chronic pain
  • Coping
  • Methadone
  • Opioid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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