Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Do Women with BC Use Their Pain Meds Correctly?

J Pain Symptom Manage; ePub 2017 Dec 5; Stephenson, et al

Most women with advanced metastatic breast cancer appear to use their pain medications correctly, researchers concluded after conducting a study involving 53 individuals. Investigators looked at electronic diaries that were kept by participants, who made entries 6 times daily for 2 weeks. Among the results:

  • Patients’ average pain level and whether their pain was better or worse than usual at the time dictated the likelihood of taking medication.
  • Patients with moderate/high pain were more likely than those with low pain to be prescribed and take analgesics.
  • Those with moderate/high pain tended not to vary their medication use based on fluctuating pain.
  • Patients with low pain tended to increase their medication use at times when their pain was higher than usual.
  • They were less likely than patients who typically experienced higher levels of pain to use medication.

The authors noted that providers should be attuned to individual factors impacting pain.


Stephenson E, DeLongis A, Bruel B, Badr H. Outpatient pain medication use: an electronic daily diary study in metastatic breast cancer. [Published online ahead of print December 5, 2017]. J Pain Symptom Manage. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.11.032.

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Ketorolac during primary breast cancer surgery bettered diclofenac, Desmedt C et al. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Apr 30. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djy042.

FDA Approves Lynparza for Certain Types of BC, FDA news release; 2018 Jan 12