Ongoing Research Funded by DHF

Optimal Pain Management Strategy in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

2021  | Disease: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Principal Researcher: Jonah Stulberg

Co-Principal Researcher: Salva N. Balbale, MS | 

Principal Investigator: Jonah J. Stulberg, MD, PhD, MPH | Salva Balbale, PhD

The national opioid crisis continues to adversely affect millions of lives, including a growing number of individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Studies have suggested that long-term opioid use among IBD patients can result in serious detrimental effects on GI function. Opioid use disorders in this population have also been linked to longer hospital stays, increasing health care costs, and deaths. Yet a comprehensive understanding of the opioid usage and pain management needs of these patients remains elusive. Additionally, no published studies have explored the decision-making process that IBD providers use when prescribing opioids. Dr. Stulberg’s study will lay the groundwork for developing best practices to optimize the use of opioids for IBD patients. The researchers will conduct interviews with IBD providers, in addition to focus groups with IBD patients to ensure all voices are heard and incorporated in future opioid safety efforts to enhance the care and pain management for patients with inflammatory bowel disease. (Dr. Stulberg led a previous DHF-funded study in 2017 that tracked and greatly reduced opioid prescriptions and risk of misuse in GI surgery patients.)

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