One-question screen may help flag patients at risk of opioid addiction

A one-question tool may help providers identify patients at risk for opioid abuse, according to an article from Medscape Medical News.

The single-screening questionnaire asks patients to rate their pain on a scale of 0 to 4, based on the statement, "It is terrible and I feel it is never going to get better," according to Medscape's coverage of research presented at the American Pain Society's annual meeting. A score of 0 indicates not at all, a 4 indicates the patient feels that way all the time. 

The researchers found that a high score on this question is linked to pain catastrophizing, which is a major risk factor for opioid abuse, a problem that has become a public health crisis throughout the country.

"The use of the item could be particularly useful in places like spine centers, where long questionnaires are needed for many other aspects of pain-related disability and surgeons may want an alternative to a 13-item measure of catastrophizing," Richard Gross, Ph.D., from the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at West Virginia University, Morgantown, told Medscape.

To learn more:
- here's the Medscape article