Objective: Quantify temporal changes in opioid use.
Methods: Claim and prescription data for Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation claims open from 1999 and 2009 were analyzed by claim age and type of opioid.
Results: There was a significant cumulative yearly increase in morphine milligram equivalents prescribed for claimants with acute pain (55-mg increase per year), as well as chronic pain (461-mg increase per year). The cost per morphine milligram equivalent was approximately the same ($0.06 to $0.07) for long- and short-acting medications, but the medication cost was 8 times higher in claims where long-acting opioids were prescribed (with or without short-acting opioids) versus only short-acting medications.
Conclusions: The annual cumulative dose and cost of opioids per claim increased over the study period related to an increase in prescriptions for long-acting opioids.
From the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Drs Bernacki and Tao); Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Mr Yuspeh); and Rehabilitation Division, Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore (Dr Lavin).
Address correspondence to: Edward J. Bernacki, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, 600 North Wolfe St, Billings Administration 129, Baltimore, MD 21287 (Bernacki@jhmi.edu).