Impact of Opioid Dose Escalation on Pain Intensity: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Video Author:Kenneth Childres, Senior Video Producer, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)

Published on:May 22, 2020

Drs. Corey Hayes and Bradley Martin present the findings of their study which examined the influence of escalating opioid doses on pain intensity among a cohort of Veterans with chronic pain. This observational study compared over 19,000 chronic opioid users that increased their opioid dose by at least 20% to an equivalent number of propensity matched persons who maintained their opioid doses and found that opioid dose escalation was not associated with improvements in NRS pain scores. These findings suggest that when contemplating whether to escalate opioid doses, the decision making process should center less on the potential benefit to improve pain intensity and more on the balance of other potential benefits and harms