Quantify temporal changes in opioid use.
Claim and prescription data for Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation claims open from 1999 and 2009 were analyzed by claim age and type of opioid.
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.
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).