The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the proportion of patients referred to a multidisciplinary pain treatment facility at risk of opioid abuse, (2) examine biopsychosocial factors associated with this risk, and (3) compare patient outcomes 6 months later across risk of opioid abuse and type of treatment (opioids vs. no opioids).
Participants were 3040 patients (mean age=53.3±14.7 y; female=56%) enrolled in the Quebec Pain Registry between July 2012 and May 2014. Patients answered self-report and nurse-administered questionnaires (pain and psychosocial constructs, Opioid Risk Tool, pain medication, etc.) before initiating treatment at the multidisciplinary pain treatment facility and 6 months later. Data were analyzed using the Pearson χ2 tests, multivariable binary logistic regression, and multivariate general linear model.
Results showed that 81%, 13%, and 6% of patients were at low, moderate, and severe risk of opioid abuse, respectively. Civil status, pain duration, mental health-related quality of life, and cigarette smoking were significantly associated with risk of opioid abuse (P<0.001). There was a significant interaction between risk of opioid abuse and type of treatment in predicting 6-month pain outcomes and quality of life.
Almost 20% of patients had a moderate/severe risk of opioid abuse; whether these patients were taking opioids or not for their pain, they had worse outcomes at follow-up. These results point to the importance of assessing risk of opioid abuse in chronic pain patients and to consider how this risk may impact on their clinical evolution.