Association between initial opioid prescription diagnosis type and subsequent chronic prescription opioid use in Rhode Island: A population-based cohort study

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Objective To identify initial diagnoses associated with elevated risk of chronic prescription opioid use. Design Population-based, retrospective cohort study. Setting State of Rhode Island. Participants Rhode Island residents with an initial opioid prescription dispensed between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020. Primary outcome measure Subsequent chronic prescription opioid use, defined as receiving 60 or more days' supply of opioids in the 90 days following an initial opioid prescription. Results Among the 87 055 patients with an initial opioid prescription, 3199 (3.7%) subsequently became chronic users. Patients who become chronic users tended to receive a longer days' supply, greater quantity dispensed, but a lower morphine milligram equivalents on the initial opioid prescription. Patients prescribed an initial opioid prescription for diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (adjusted OR (aOR): 5.9, 95% CI: 4.7 to 7.6), diseases of the nervous system (aOR: 6.3, 95% CI: 4.9 to 8.0) and neoplasms (aOR: 5.6, 95% CI: 4.2 to 7.5) had higher odds of subsequent chronic prescription opioid use, compared with a referent group that included all diagnosis types with fewer than 15 chronic opioid users, after adjusting for confounders. Conclusions By focusing interventions and prescribing guidelines on specific types of diagnoses that carry a high risk of chronic prescription opioid use and diagnoses that would benefit equally or more from alternative management approaches, states and healthcare organisations may more efficiently decrease inappropriate opioid prescribing while improving the quality of patient care.

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BMJ Open