Heavy prescription over time leading to opioid dependence [2018]

Introduction: Opioid prescription (OP) is a widespread practice, which raises concerns for the risks involved. In the present study, we aimed to retrospectively evaluate risk factors for prescription opioid (PO) addiction in a sample of patients attended in a pain clinic in a big urban hospital.

Methods: We conducted a case–control study to evaluate risk factors for OP addiction. We selected 20 patients referred to an addictions unit from the pain clinic for opioid use disorder and matched with 40 controls attending to the pain clinic who were not.

Results: High dosage (OR = 1,023, P = 0,046) and long-lasting (OR = 1,023, P = 0,046) use of opioids are among the most important risk factors for a future referral to an addictions unit. Every 10 mg of equivalent dose of morphine escalation increases the probability for a future referral by 23%. Each month appears to increase the risk for a future referral to the addiction unit by 2.4%. Depressive and anxious symptomatology and concomitant benzodiazepine use showed a tendency, however nonsignificant.

Conclusions: Although it may seem obvious, the greater and longer the use of opioids higher is the risk of opioid misuse. A multidisciplinary approach is needed to improve these patients’ prognosis.

Pol Bruguera, Pablo Barrio, Lluïsa Ortega, Ana Isabel Lopez-Lazcano, Adela Fauli & Anna Lligoña

Journal of Substance Use, Volume 23, 2018 – Issue 6