Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Nearly Half of Patients Who Stop Taking Opioids for 6 Months Resume Use over a 3-Year Period

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Nearly Half of Patients Who Stop Taking Opioids for 6 Months Resume Use over a 3-Year Period

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO -- A new study of medical records offers insights into the persistence of opioid use: Most patients who were prescribed opioid painkillers did not go back for a refill right away, but nearly half of patients who stopped taking the drugs for at least 6 months ended up using them again over a 3-year period.

"This key finding indicates that programs that address opioid use need to focus on long-term support and education to ensure that individuals do not become long-term users," psychiatrist and lead author Shareh Ghani, MD, vice president and medical director of Magellan Health Services, San Francisco, said in an interview.

Researchers also found that opioid use appeared linked to three unexpected conditions--lipid disorders, hypertension, and sleep-wake disorders--and found that more than half of those who had at least two prescriptions for high-dose opioids kept taking the drugs over 18 months after an initial 90-day period.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Ghani and his colleague, Gowri Shetty, MPH, analyzed medical and pharmacy data for 2009-2012 for 2.5 million people. The participants, aged 20-64 years, came from across the United States and were part of a commercial health plan.

The researchers found that 21% had received one prescription for an opioid. Users considered at risk for persistent use--more than one prescription over 3 years--were more likely than were nonusers to have these characteristics: spondylosis and other back problems (odds ratio, 5.3), substance-related and addictive disorders (OR, 4.6), sleep-wake disorders (OR, 2.2), depressive disorders (OR, 1.7), headaches (OR, 2.1), and anxiety disorders (OR, 1.5.) The P values for all of those characteristics were less than .001.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

They also found that patients who received certain kinds of treatment were at higher risk, compared with nonusers: those who were treated for substance abuse treatment (OR, 4.5), in emergency departments (OR, 3.2), with anesthesia (OR, 4.2), for mental health issues (OR, 2.3), and with surgery (OR, 2. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.