Dr. Elyse Watkins, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to review chronic pain patients being treated with opioids and analyze the associated risks of suicide.
Method: A PubMed literature and Google Scholar search were conducted with the following search terms: chronic pain, opioids, and suicide. Eleven pertinent articles were retrieved, and they serve as the basis for this clinical review.
Results: Evidence shows that chronic pain treated with opioids may increase the risk of suicide.
Conclusion: Studies have shown that chronic pain is a risk factor for suicide. Opioids could potentially be a risk for suicide, as well as a means of suicide. Prior research has shown that more than 90% of those who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental disorder at the time of death. Individuals with a history of depression and PTSD are more likely to have chronic pain and to receive prescription opioids; usually in higher doses and for longer periods of time. Further research is needed to establish a direct correlation between chronic pain, opioids, and suicide.
Nicholson, James A.
"Suicide Risk in the Treatment of Chronic Pain with Opioids,"
Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science: Vol. 2
, Article 22.
Available at: https://digitalshowcase.lynchburg.edu/dmscjournal/vol2/iss2/22
Available when accessing via a campus IP address or logged in with a University of Lynchburg email address.
Off-campus users can also use 'Off-campus Download' button above for access.