Usage of pain medications during stroke rehabilitation: The Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Outcomes Projects (PSROP)

Richard D. Zorowitz, Randall J. Smout, Julie A. Gassaway, Susan D. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Pain remains one of the most common, yet most challenging, medical problems in health care today, and it is one of the most common complications that occurs after a stroke. Pain can affect the course of stroke rehabilitation adversely, and it occasionally may be a cause for transfer back to an acute care hospital. The Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Outcomes Project (PSROP) database was used to describe the incidence of pain by body location and trends in the use of different classifications of medications to treat pain. Of the 1,122 participants in the PSROP database, the most common locations of pain in stroke survivors were the head, leg, back, and shoulder. The most frequently prescribed classifications of pain medications were other analgesics (acetaminophen and tramadol), followed by narcotic analgesics, non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anticonvulsants, and tricyclic antidepressants. After acetaminophen, the most frequently prescribed medications in each classification, respectively, include hydrocodone APAP, cox-2 inhibitors, gabapentin, and amitriptyline. Other frequently prescribed pain medications included sumatriptan (migraine analgesic), cyclobenzaprine (muscle relaxant), and baclofen (antispasticity muscle relaxant). Medications should be chosen based upon the medical condition causing pain, the ability of the stroke survivor to comply with administration of the medication, and the cost of the medication. Appropriate and timely treatments of painful conditions result in maximum function and the ability to lead active lives and maintain an adequate quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalTopics in stroke rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Cerebrovascular disorders
  • Pain
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Community and Home Care
  • Clinical Neurology


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