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Opioid Use as a Predictor of Health Care Use and Pain Outcomes: Analysis of Clinical Trial Data.

Krebs EE, Kroenke K, Wu J, Bair MJ, Kozak MA, Yu Z. Opioid Use as a Predictor of Health Care Use and Pain Outcomes: Analysis of Clinical Trial Data. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2016 Jul 1; 17(7):1261-1268.

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OBJECTIVE: To examine effects of pre-enrollment opioid use on outcomes of a 12-month collaborative pain care management trial. We hypothesized that participants with opioid use would have worse pain at baseline; use more health care services and analgesics; and have worse pain outcomes during the trial. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of randomized controlled trial data. SETTING: Veterans Affairs (VA) primary care. SUBJECTS: Patients age 18-65 years with chronic pain of at least moderate severity who were enrolled in a 12-month pragmatic trial of a telephone-based collaborative care intervention for chronic musculoskeletal pain. METHODS: Participants were categorized as opioid users (n? = 84) or non-users (n? = 166) at baseline and trial randomization was stratified by opioid use. We used logistic regression to examine cross-sectional associations with baseline opioid use and mixed-effect models for repeated measures to examine baseline opioid use as a predictor of Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) scores over 12 months. RESULTS: At baseline, 33.6% reported use of prescribed opioids. Baseline opioid users had higher baseline BPI scores and higher health-related disability than non-users. Baseline opioid users also had more outpatient visits (15.0 vs. 10.1; p? = 0.001) and received more analgesics (p? < 0.001) during the trial. In the final multivariable model examining effects of baseline opioid use on BPI over 12 months, opioid users and nonusers had a non-significant difference of 0.25 points (p? = 0.098). In conclusion, although baseline opioid users had worse pain at baseline and used more health care during the study, response to the intervention was not significantly modified by pre-existing opioid therapy.

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