Retrospective longitudinal cohort analysis of patients diagnosed in 2010, with continuous enrollment 6 months prior to and 12 months following the initial visit.
To determine whether provider specialty
influences patterns of opiate utilization long after initial diagnosis.
Summary of Background Data.
Patients with low back pain
present to a variety of providers and receive a spectrum of treatments, including opiate medications. The impact of initial provider
type on opiate use in this population is uncertain.
We performed a retrospective analysis of opiate-naïve adult patients in the United States with newly diagnosed low back or lower extremity pain. We estimated the risk of early opiate prescription (≤14 d from diagnosis) and long-term opiate use (≥six prescriptions in 12 mo) based on the provider
type at initial diagnosis using multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for patient demographics and comorbidities.
We identified 478,981 newly diagnosed opiate-naïve patients. Of these, 40.4% received an opiate prescription within 1 year and 4.0% met criteria for long-term use. The most common initial provider
type was family practice, associated with a 24.4% risk of early opiate prescription (95% CI, 24.1–24.6) and a 2.0% risk of long-term opiate use (95% CI, 2.0–2.1). Risk of receiving an early opiate prescription was higher among patients initially diagnosed by emergency medicine (43.1%; 95% CI, 41.6–44.5) or at an urgent care facility (40.8%; 95% CI, 39.4–42.3). Risk of long-term opiate use was highest for patients initially diagnosed by pain management/anesthesia (6.7%; 95% CI, 6.0–7.3) or physical medicine and rehabilitation (3.4%; 95% CI, 3.1–3.8) providers.
type influences early opiate prescription and long-term opiate use among opiate-naïve patients with newly diagnosed low back and lower extremity pain.
Level of Evidence: 3