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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 143  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 95-100

Profile of female patients seeking in-patient treatment for prescription opioid abuse from a tertiary care drug dependence treatment centre from India


National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Yatan Pal Singh Balhara
National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.178616

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Background & objectives: There has been a limited focus on prescription drug abuse among women in the country. Choice of psychoactive substance, reasons for initiation and co-occurring disorders have been found to be different among men and women. The current study was aimed at studying the profile of female patients seeking in-patient treatment for prescription drug use over a period of five years at a tertiary care drug dependence treatment centre in India. Methods: Case records of all female patients admitted with substance use disorder at a national level drug dependence treatment centre in north India across five years (between January 2008 and December 2012) were reviewed retrospectively to study their socio-demographic and clinical profile. The information was gathered using a semi-structured proforma and detailed case records. Abstinence, relapse and retention rates were calculated. Results: Over the five years, 31 female patients were admitted with prescription drug abuse. Of them, 12 (39%) used prescription opioids and 11 (36%) used prescription opioid along with benzodiazepines. Commonest prescription opioid was pentazocine used by 87 per cent of the women. Twenty two (71%) women were introduced to opioid by medical practitioners and commonest reason for introduction was pain (among 48%). Common co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses were depressive disorder (26%), cluster B traits/disorder (19%) and somatoform disorder (13%). Eight women did not complete treatment and left against medical advice. Thirteen women were advised maintenance treatment, and 70 per cent of them were retained for at least six months. Interpretation & conclusions: Our findings revealed a link between mental illness, pain and non-medical use of prescription opioids among women. Majority of these women received opioids as a legitimate prescription form physician. Therefore, these legitimate prescribers should be trained for pain management to facilitate proper treatment of pain and to prevent the subsequent misuse of these medicines. Female patients with frequent pain complaints should be assessed for psychopathology while prescribing opioids.


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