More than 10% of Danish patients with rheumatic diseases reported recently having suicidal thoughts due to pain and poor sleep associated with their condition, according to findings presented at the EULAR Annual Congress.
“Our study indicates that pain and poor quality of sleep have a huge impact on a patient’s daily life, especially on their mental health,” Lene Mandrup Thomsen, of The Danish Rheumatism Association, 2820, said in a press release.
Thomsen and colleagues with the Danish Rheumatism Association created an online questionnaire and sent it to 1,328 members of a user panel in November 2018. They aimed to gain deeper understanding of the relationships between pain, sleep, mental health and the use of strong painkilling medications.
More than 10% of Danish patients with rheumatic diseases reported recently having suicidal thoughts due to pain and poor sleep associated with their condition, according to findings.
The response rate was 69%. Eligible participants from the Association’s panel had at least one rheumatic disease but may not represent all patients with rheumatic diseases in Denmark, according to the findings.
Results showed that 67% of respondents never feel completely rested when they wake up in the morning, while 36% use pain killers to improve sleep quality. Nearly 70% reported that poor sleep has a negative impact on their pain.
Mental health outcomes showed that within the last 4 weeks, 58% of the cohort felt that their life and condition are unmanageable, largely due to pain. Suicidal thoughts were reported by 11%, while 45% reported that they did not want to interact with others because of their pain.
Daily pain, or pain multiple times a week, was reported by 83% of respondents. Of this group, 46% received strong painkillers in the previous 12 months, and 78% have not been offered alternative approaches to managing pain.
In the study, Thomsen suggested that members of the Association were surprised at both the ongoing prevalence of opioid use and the impact of pain on the lives of these patients.
“We are using the results of this study in our political work to help campaign for better treatment and support for patients with chronic pain in our healthcare system,” she said. –by Rob Volansky
Thomsen LM. OP0347-PARE. Presented at: EULAR Annual Congress; June 12-15, 2019; Madrid.
Disclosure: Thomsen reports no relevant financial disclosures.