Over-the-counter medicines, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may be enough to control pain from sickle cell disease. But sometimes you may need stronger opioid medicines to take at home or even during treatment at the hospital. Your SCCA team works to ensure you get the care you need for pain.
We can also help you learn to reduce your risk for painful episodes by avoiding triggers, like low fluid intake and extreme changes in temperature.
In the U.S., people with sickle cell disease are usually African Americans, who may have experienced unequal treatment for their health needs, especially their pain. For instance, research shows that overall African Americans tend to receive less treatment for pain than whites do, despite reporting more pain. Also, doctors may be more likely to see African Americans who say they are in pain as drug seeking, even though white people are more likely to misuse opioids.1
At SCCA, our sickle cell team is working to combat health disparities and improve care for everyone with sickle cell disease by educating other health care providers about these issues. In partnership with colleagues at UW School of Medicine, our sickle cell experts and some patient-advocates have teamed up to educate first-year medical students about the racial and socioeconomic disparities some people with sickle cell disease face. Together, they challenge young medical students to care for people with sickle cell disease with compassion and respect.
1. Pain and Ethnicity, Virtual Mentor/AMA Journal Ethics.