Perceptions of analgesic use and side effects: what the public values in pain management

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2004 Nov;28(5):460-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2004.02.016.


In this population-based telephone survey, we evaluated the attitudes of 302 adults toward analgesic use and related side effects. Over half (68%) reported prior experience with 2 or more side effects. Vomiting (34%), confusion (32%), and nausea (17%) were ranked as the worst side effects. Exploratory cluster analysis grouped responses to 6 questions about willingness to use analgesics into two categories. Participants in Cluster I (n=106), "Conservatives," were less willing to take analgesics for pain as compared to those in Cluster II (n=153), "Liberals." Univariate analysis found Hispanics, women, those less affluent or educated, and those with prior side-effect experience were more likely to be Conservative. Experience with side effects (OR=1.3) and being female (OR=2.1) were the strongest predictors of conservative cluster membership. To achieve better pain outcomes, clinicians and patients must identify factors that contribute to conservative decision-making about analgesic use and side effect management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics / adverse effects*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Public Opinion*
  • Social Values*


  • Analgesics