Background: In Muslim majority countries (MMC) opioid use for pain management is extremely low. The underlying factors contributing to this are not well defined. Aim: The aim of this study was to survey the attitudes of cancer patients towards morphine use for pain management in a MMC and identify the factors that influence patient decisions to accept or refuse morphine as treatment for cancer pain. Settings/participants: Patients were questioned whether they had pain or not, the severity and the medications for pain management. Questionsincluded what type of medication they thought morphine was, whether or not they would be willing to take morphine if recommended for pain management and the basis for their decision if they were against morphine use.
Results: Four hundred and eighty-eight patients participated in the study. Some 50% of the patients whorefused morphine use and 36.8% of the patients who would prefer another drug, if possible, identified fear of addiction as the basis for their decision. Reservation of morphine for later in their disease was the case for 22.4% of the patients who refused morphine use. Only 13.7 % of the patients refusing morphine and 9.7% of the patients who preferred another drug, if possible, cited religious reasons as the basis for this decision.
Conclusions: Identifying the underlying factors contributing to low opioid use for pain management in MMC is important. Once the underlying factors were identified, all efforts should be taken to overcome them as they are barriers to improving patient pain management.