Pentazocine dependence among sickle cell disease patients attending out patient specialist sickle cell clinic in Benin City, Nigeria

  • G.N Nazuaye
  • E. Uwadiae


Introduction: Sickle cell disease is a chronic disease. Severe bone pain is commonly the hallmark of clinical features. This commonly necessitates the use of analgesics especially Opioids which unfortunately have a high potential to produce  dependence. The complications of dependence in patients on any psychoactive substance is huge. It is particularly very challenging in those with a long standing disorder like sickle cell disease
Objective: This study seeks to determine the prevalence of pentazocine dependence among sickle cell patients attending
specialized sickle cell disease clinic in Benin City.
Methods: This was a descriptive study with a total of 125 sickle cell disease patients recruited by purposive sampling method after consent. Data was collected with questionnaire that was pre tested among medical students of same age group. The data were presented in frequency tables, .
Results: Majority of participants (80%) were between 18 30 years. Males were over (54.4%) and the largest participants were students (59.2%). Twenty four percent of the entire population study injected themselves with pentazocine and 17.6% met the ICD-10 criteria for dependence. Majority (90.9%) of those with dependence had primacy with tendency to cause physical
harm to themselves while 63.6% had strong desire for use of the drugs. The preferred sites of administration of pentazocine in descending order by the patients was the buttock (38.7%), thigh (25.8%), upper arm (22.5%) and other sites put together
contributed 4%. Furthermore 51% o f p e n t a z o c i n e d e p e n d e n t population blamed their dependence on their relatives.
Conclusion : Pentazocine dependence is more prevalent among sickle cell disease patients than hitherto assumed. This is  worsened by the easy access to this drug over the pharmacy, chemist shops and other retail medicine outlets in the country. It is hoped therefore that in the management of dependence syndrome in sickle cell patients, efforts must be made to educate both the patients and their relatives. Also there must be laws regulating the availability of this drug restricting it to medical prescriptions only.

Key words: Pentazocine, drug dependence, sickle cell disease


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eISSN: 0189-1774