Background: A growing number of studies have shown that opioid craving (i.e., the perceived need or desire to consume opioids) is one of the strongest determinants of prescription opioid misuse in patients with chronic pain prescribed opioid therapy. To date, however, the factors that are associated with craving in patients with pain remain largely unexplored. Based on previous research, there is reason to believe that catastrophizing might be associated with heightened opioid craving. Objectives: To test the hypothesis that catastrophizing would be associated with heightened craving in patients with chronic pain prescribed long-term opioid therapy. Design and Subjects, and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 109 patients with chronic pain were asked to provide self-reports of catastrophizing and craving. Patients also provided self-reports of pain intensity and depressive symptoms. Results: We found that higher levels of catastrophizing were associated with higher levels of craving. Importantly, results of a regression analysis revealed that the association between catastrophizing and craving remained significant even after controlling for a host of demographic (i.e., age, sex), psychological (i.e., depressive symptoms), medical (i.e., pain intensity, pain duration), and medication regimen (i.e., opioid doses) variables. Conclusions: Our preliminary findings provide valuable new insights into the determinants of craving in patients with pain. The finding that catastrophizing was associated with craving even after controlling for a host of demographic, psychological, medical, and medication regimen variables is particularly striking, and raises questions concerning the factors that underlie the association between catastrophizing and craving in patients prescribed opioid therapy.
- Chronic pain
- Prescription opioid misuse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine