Long-term opioid use ups mortality risk in patients with chronic pain

Long-term opioid use ups mortality risk in patients with chronic pain
Long-term opioid use ups mortality risk in patients with chronic pain

HealthDay News -- For adult patients with chronic noncancer pain, mortality is increased for long-term opioid users, with a smaller increase seen in short-term opioid users and for nonusers compared with patients without chronic pain, results of a study published in PAIN indicate.

“Opioid use increases the risk of injuries and toxicity/poisoning,” wrote Ola Ekholm, of the University of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen, and colleagues.

To examine the risk of death, development of cancer, and hospital inpatient admissions resulting for injuries and toxicity/poisoning among opioid users with chronic noncancer pain, the investigators collected data from 13,127 adults who were classified according to the presence or absence of chronic pain and long-term or short-term opioid use.

The risk of all-cause mortality was 1.72-fold higher for long-term opioid users compared with patients without chronic pain. Compared with the background population, the risk of death was still increased for short-term opioid users (1.36; 95% CI: 1.07-1.72) and in nonopioid users with chronic pain (1.39; 95% CI: 1.22-1.59).

No significant correlation was observed between long-term opioid use and cardiovascular and cancer mortality. Compared with patients without chronic pain, opioid users had higher risks of injuries and toxicity/poisoning resulting in hospital inpatient admissions. There were no deaths caused by accidents or suicides among opioid users.

References

  1. Ekholm O et al. PAIN. 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2014.07.006
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