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High prevalence of opioid use by Social Security disability recipients, reports Medical Care
Date:8/14/2014

August 14, 2014 More than 40 percent of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients take opioid pain relievers, while the prevalence of chronic opioid use is over 20 percent and rising, reports a study in the September issue of Medical Care. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

The high proportion of SSDI recipients who are chronic opioid usersin many, at high and very high daily doses"is worrisome in light of established and growing evidence that intense opioid use to treat non-malignant [non-cancer] pain may not be effective and may confer important risk," write Dr Nancy Elizabeth Morden and colleagues of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Lebanon, N.H.

Rising Prevalence of Opioid Use by SSDI Recipients

The researchers analyzed trends in use of prescription opioids (morphine-related drugs) among disabled Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 between 2007 and 2011. Nearly all under-65 Medicare beneficiaries are SSDI recipients; patients who go on SSDI are eligible for Medicare after two years.

Consistent with reports of an "opioid epidemic" in the United States, the results showed high and rising prevalence of opioid use by SSDI recipients. The percentage of beneficiaries taking opioids increased from 2007 through 2010. In 2011, the most recent year with available data, prevalence dipped slightly to 43.7 percent.

The percentage of these beneficiaries with chronic opioid use rose steadily, from 21.4 percent in 2007 to 23.1 percent in 2011. Chronic opioid users received numerous opioid prescriptionsat least six and generally 13 per yeartypically prescribed by multiple doctors. Women were at greater risk of becoming chronic opioid users than men.

Among chronic opioid users, the aver
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Contact: Connie Hughes
Connie.Hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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