Analysis of factors related to the use of opioid analgesics in regional cancer centers in Japan

Munetoshi Sugiura, Mitsunori Miyashita, Kazuki Sato, Satoru Tsuneto, Motohiro Matoba, Motohiko Sano, Yasuo Shima

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: The use of opioid analgesics and nonopioid medicines for the treatment of various symptoms in regional cancer centers is considered to be an index of the effectiveness of the structural plan for palliative care in such institutions. The present study aimed to establish an accurate representation of the actual use of opioid analgesics for palliative care in regional cancer centers. Methods: In November 2007, a questionnaire regarding the use of medications for palliative care was conducted in 288 regional cancer centers in Japan. Valid responses were received from 264 institutions (response rate, 91.4%). Results: All regional cancer centers reported using both opioid analgesics and nonopioid medicines. However, regarding opioid analgesics, the use of each standard strength ranged from 7% to 100%. The total amount of opioid analgesics used was 1739.6±1216.5g (mean±SD). Factors found to be significantly related to the total amount of opioid analgesics used in an institution were the number of opioid analgesic medicines in use (p=0.008), the number of inpatients with cancer (p<0.001), the number of deaths among patients with cancer (p<0.001), and the number of beds (p<0.001). Discussion: Increase in the amount of opioid analgesics might improve the quality of palliative care at regional cancer centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-846
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul 1


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