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Chronic Pain, Opioid Therapy, Sexual Desire, and Satisfaction in Sexual Life: A Population-Based Survey

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Objectives: Associations between chronic pain, opioid use, and sexual problems are acknowledged, but population-based investigations are sparse. Our study aimed at investigating the associations between chronic noncancer pain (CNCP), opioid use, lack of/low sexual desire, and dissatisfaction with sexual life.

Subjects: In 2013, 11,517 randomly selected individuals of the Danish population (18-74 years old without cancer) completed a self-administered questionnaire.

Methods: We classified CNCP: pain lasting six months or longer, short-term opioid use: one or more prescriptions the previous year, long-term opioid use: one or more prescriptions per month for six months the previous year. Sexual problems were assessed by four closed-ended questions. Data on dispensed opioids were retrieved from the Danish National Prescription Registry. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations between CNCP, opioid use, and lack of/low sexual desire, and dissatisfaction in sexual life, presented as odds ratios (95% confidence intervals [CIs]).

Results: Compared with individuals without CNCP, individuals with CNCP in the long-term and short-term opioid use group and in the nonopioid use group were more likely to report a lack of/low sexual desire (OR = 2.64, 95% CI = 1.80-3.88; OR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.39-2.38; OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.28-1.67, respectively) and dissatisfaction with sex life (OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.07-2.67; OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.00-1.82; OR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.22-1.58, respectively). Compared with CNCP patients not using opioids, long-term opioid users with CNCP had statistically significant higher odds of reporting a lack of/low sexual desire (OR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.23-2.68).

Conclusions: Long-term opioid therapy for CNCP requires special attention due to its potential in suppressing sexual desire.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPain medicine (Malden, Mass.)
Volume20
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1132-1140
Number of pages9
ISSN1526-2375
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2018 American Academy of Pain Medicine. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

    Research areas

  • Chronic noncancer pain, Opioid use, Satisfaction in sexual life, Sexual desire

ID: 55219074