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Patient Characteristics and Risks Factors for Development of Dependence on Hydrocodone and Oxycodone

Miller, Norman S.*; Greenfeld, Andrea

Original Articles

The purpose of the study was to document the substantial increase in problematic use of hydrocodone and oxycodone in an addiction treatment population. Our study consisted of a retrospective review of medical records from all patients admitted and discharged in 2000 from Sparrow/St. Lawrence Addiction Detoxification Unit (N = 534). A literature review was conducted in medical journals, governmental groups, and reports including Drug Abuse Warning Network, Pharmacy Times, and National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. More than 144 patients (27%) were dependent on prescription opiate medications. The most frequently mentioned medication was Vicodin (hydrocodone) (53% of the users) followed by OxyContin (oxycodone) (19%). Physicians commonly prescribed these medications (75% of the cases). Predictors of dependence on opiate medications included substance-related diagnoses, positive toxicology for opiates, and other medical diagnoses. Patients under the care of physicians who have other drug dependence diagnoses and medical complaints appear at risk of developing dependence on prescription opiate medications. Proper evaluation and intervention can limit adverse consequences of prescription opiate medications.

Department of Psychiatry, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

*Address for correspondence: Department of Psychiatry, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, A227 East Fee Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1316. E-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.