5 predictors of persistent opioid use among workers' comp patients


A study published in JAMA Network Open examined the patient-level factors associated with persistent opioid use among workers' compensation claimants.

Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study, for which they collected workers' comp claims data from Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2016, from the Chesapeake Employers' Insurance Company in Baltimore. They included all workers' comp claimants injured during the study years and with at least one filled opioid prescription in the study. They did not include patients who died as a result of the claimed injury.

For the study, researchers defined persistent opioid use as filling an opioid prescription beyond 90 days from the date of injury.

Of the 9,596 study participants, 28.6 percent had persistent opioid use. The factors significantly associated with persistent opioid use were:

• Participants aged 60 years or older
• Crush injuries
• Strain and sprain injuries
• Annual income more than $60,000
• Concomitant diagnoses for chronic joint pain

"Interventions to lower persistent opioid use in this population should target patients with the characteristics identified in this study," study authors concluded.

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