August 15, 2016
1 min read

Pain interference with daily life increases risk for prescription opioid use disorder

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Individuals who reported pain interfered with daily activities were significantly more likely to develop a prescription opioid use disorder, according to recent findings.

“Concerns about undertreatment of pain have led to growth in opioid prescriptions and an increase in the prevalence of prescription opioid use disorders, which themselves pose risks of premature mortality. Despite the clinical, public health, and policy relevance of prescription opioid use disorder, little is known about its relationship to pain,” Carlos Blanco, MD, PhD, of the division of epidemiology, services, and prevention research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and colleagues wrote.

To determine associations between moderate and more severe pain and prescription opioid use disorders among noninstitutionalized individuals, researchers used a structural equation model to analyze waves 1 (2001 to 2002) and 2 (2004 to 2005) of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Pain was measured with a 5-point scale of pain interference with daily activities. Prescription opioid use disorder was determined by structured interviews with the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV.

Pain and prescription opioid use disorders were significantly associated at baseline and at follow-up 3 years later.

However, while pain at baseline was significantly associated with prescription opioid use disorders at follow-up, prescription opioid use disorders at baseline was not associated with pain at follow-up.

These associations were independent of background demographic and clinical characteristics.

Pain interference was associated with a 41% increase in risk for developing a prescription opioid use disorder.

“In a large nationally representative sample, pain predicted opioid use disorder. We hope that this finding helps to focus research and practice on development and use of nonopioid strategies for pain management,” the researchers concluded. – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.