Differences in Characteristics and Downstream Drug Use Among Opioid-Naïve and Prior Opioid Users with Low Back Pain.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Recent clinical practice guidelines have suggested conservative treatment approaches, including physical therapy, are indicated as first-line treatment for patients with low back pain (LBP); however, LBP continues to be managed with opioids, despite decreases in function, morbidity, and insignificant improvements in pain. OBJECTIVE: The primary purpose was to compare characteristics and downstream medication use between patients with LBP with prior opioid exposure vs. those who were opioid-naïve. The secondary purpose was to explore the role of prior opioid use by LBP disability. METHODS: Seven hundred and nine participants in a LBP self-management class were evaluated utilizing self-report data at baseline and longitudinal claims data from the Military Health System Data Repository. Participants were dichotomized into opioid-naïve and prior opioid use groups and then further divided into low and high disability groups based on Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. Patient characteristics, comorbidities, and medication use were compared between groups. RESULTS: Prior opioid users had significantly higher baseline ODI and Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire physical activity subscale and work subscale scores as well as pre-index instances of mental health disorders, chronic pain, and insomnia than opioid-naïve individuals. Prior opioid users filled significantly more pain medication prescriptions in the year after the index date than did opioid-naïve individuals. Prior opioid users were significantly more likely to be taking opioids at 1 year after the index date, regardless of disability level. CONCLUSION: In patients presenting with LBP, prior opioid exposure appears to be related to increased analgesic use (opioid and non-opioid) and longitudinal analgesic utilization at 1 year after the index date.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • DiMarco, LA; Ramger, BC; Howell, GP; Serrani, AM; Givens, DL; Rhon, DI; Cook, CE

Published Date

  • February 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 149 - 157

PubMed ID

  • 30269416

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6501169

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1533-2500

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/papr.12728


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States