Opioids are commonly prescribed for the management of patients with chronic noncancer pain. Despite the potential analgesic benefits of opioids, long-term opioid therapy (LTOT) may be accompanied by problems such as opioid misuse and opioid use disorder (OUD). In this review, we begin with a description of opioid misuse and OUD and the patient-specific factors associated with these problems among patients with chronic pain. We will focus primarily on highlighting the predominant role played by psychological factors in the occurrence of opioid misuse and OUD in these patients. Several psychological factors have been found to be associated with opioid use problems in patients with chronic pain, and evidence indicates that patients presenting with psychological disturbances are particularly at risk of transitioning to long-term opioid use, engaging in opioid misuse behaviors, and developing OUD. The biological factors that might underlie the association between psychological disturbances and opioid use problems in patients with chronic pain have yet to be fully elucidated, but a growing number of studies suggest that dysfunctions in reward, appetitive, autonomic, and neurocognitive systems might be involved. We end with an overview of specific types of psychological interventions that have been put forward to prevent or reduce the occurrence of opioid misuse and OUD in patients with chronic pain who are prescribed long-term opioid therapy.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.