Joint pain patients prescribed opioids more likely to report high care satisfaction

Patients with musculoskeletal issues — such as chronic joint pain, arthritis and gout — are more likely to report high care satisfaction when prescribed opioids, according to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

For the study, researchers analyzed data on 19,566 patients identified as having musculoskeletal conditions who responded to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey between 2008 and 2014. Researchers identified 2,564 respondents who were prescription opioid users.

Moderate opioid users were 47 percent more likely to have patient satisfaction scores in the highest quartile of responses compared to nonusers and limited users. Among opioid users, moderate to high opioid use was associated with an increased likelihood (55 percent and 43 percent, respectively) of patients reporting high care satisfaction. However, analysis also revealed opioid users reported higher levels of pain and disability as a result of their musculoskeletal condition.

"Opioid users report worse health and disability metrics when compared with nonusers," wrote the study's authors. "Given the opioid-related health crisis in the United States, our data suggest that there is an urgent need to establish, on a population health level, whether the observed greater satisfaction with care is associated with demonstrable health benefits."

More articles on opioids: 
Scientists advance toward creation of nonaddictive opioids: 5 things to know 
Penn State to hold opioid epidemic summit: 3 things to know 
WellStar Health System, Pacira partner on opioid use reduction effort

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