5 years ago

Are We Still Prescribing Opioids for Osteoarthritis?

The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. These medications continue to be used to manage pain associated with osteoarthritis, despite mounting evidence questioning the benefits. The rate at which opioids are prescribed for osteoarthritis is largely unknown. We sought to identify rates of opioid prescriptions for osteoarthritis and identify factors associated with higher rates of prescribing. Methods We queried the Humana, Inc. administrative claims database from 2007 to 2014. Patients with osteoarthritis were identified using International Classification of Diseases 9th Revision codes and classified as having hip, knee, or any joint osteoarthritis. Claims data were reviewed to identify opioid prescriptions associated with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Rates of prescribing were trended over time and stratified by sex, age, and geographic region. Results From 2007 to 2014, 17.0% of patients with any joint osteoarthritis, 13.4% of patients with hip osteoarthritis, and 15.9% with knee osteoarthritis were prescribed an opioid for their condition. Yearly rates of prescription were fairly stable over this period. Patients in the South had the highest odds of opioid prescription, while those in the Northeast had the lowest. Patients ≤49 years old were more likely to receive a prescription than those ≥50 years old. Conclusion This study provides important epidemiologic data about the use of opioids for osteoarthritis. Despite increasing evidence calling proposed benefits into question and increasing awareness of risks of opioids, prescribing rates remained stable between 2007 and 2014. This provides important baseline data as we work to combat excessive and inappropriate opioid use within the United States.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0883540317306666

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