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.