Romanelli RJ, Ikeda LI, Lynch B, Craig T, Cappelleri JC, Jukes T, Ishisaka DY., Am J Manag Care. 23(5):e138-e145., 2017 May 01
OBJECTIVES: We sought to evaluate opioid prescribing in an ambulatory setting among patients with noncancer chronic pain (CP).
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis.
METHODS: We identified patients with at least 2 CP encounters at least 30 days apart in 2012 in the electronic health records of a community-based healthcare delivery system in northern California. We used logistic regression models to assess associations of receiving an opioid prescription with respect to number and type of CP conditions and patient demographics and characteristics. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and the adjusted prevalence of receiving an opioid prescription were generated after controlling for important covariates.
RESULTS: A total of 120,481 patients with CP met eligibility criteria, with 58% receiving an opioid in 2012. The adjusted prevalence of receiving an opioid was highest for back/cervical pain (71%). The odds of receiving an opioid increased linearly with the number of CP conditions per patient (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.25-1.33; P <.001). Men were generally more likely to receive an opioid than women, as were patients with noncommercial insurance, especially Medicaid (OR, 2.77; 95% CI, 2.56-3.01; P <.001) versus commercial.
CONCLUSIONS: In an ambulatory healthcare setting, opioid prescribing to patients with CP varied by type and number of pain conditions. Opioid prescriptions to men, those with back/cervical pain, and Medicaid beneficiaries were particularly prevalent. The identification of populations more likely to receive an opioid in the treatment of CP should be of interest to healthcare systems to ensure these drugs are being used appropriately and safely.