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Sex Differences in Opioid Use in Patients With Symptomatic Lumbar Stenosis or Spondylolisthesis Undergoing Lumbar Decompression and Fusion

Adogwa, Owoicho MD, MPH; Davison, Mark A. BS; Vuong, Victoria BS, MS; Desai, Shyam A. BA; Lilly, Daniel T. BA; Moreno, Jessica BS, MS; Cheng, Joseph MD, MS; Bagley, Carlos MD, MBA

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000002965
SURGERY
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Study Design. Retrospective analysis.

Objective. To investigate sex differences in opioid use after lumbar decompression and fusion surgery for patients with symptomatic lumbar stenosis or spondylolisthesis.

Summary of Background Data. Recent studies have demonstrated higher prevalence of chronic pain states and greater pain sensitivity among women compared with men. Furthermore, differences in responsivity to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments have been observed. Whether sex differences in perioperative opioid use exists in patients undergoing lumbar fusion for symptomatic stenosis or spondylolisthesis remains unknown.

Methods. An insurance database, including private/commercially insured and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, was queried for patients with symptomatic lumbar stenosis or spondylolisthesis undergoing index 1,2, or 3-level index lumbar decompression and fusion procedures between 2007 and 2016. Records were searchable by International Classification of diseases diagnosis and procedure codes, and generic drug codes specific to Humana. Opioid use 6-months prior to through 2-years after index surgery was assessed. The primary outcome was sex differences in opioid use after index lumbar surgery. The secondary outcome was independent predictors of prolonged opioid use after lumbar fusion.

Results. Of the 13,257 participants (females: 7871, 59.8%), 58.4% of women used opioids compared with 56.9% of men prior to index surgery. At 1-year after surgery, continuous opioid use was observed in 67.1% of women compared with 64.2% of men (P < 0.001). Within 2-years postoperatively, opioid use was observed in 83.1% of women versus 82.5% men. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, female sex (odds ration [OR] 1.14, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.058–1.237), obesity (OR 1.10, 95% CI: 1.004–1.212), and preoperative narcotic use (OR 3.43, 95% CI: 3.179–3.708) was independently associated with prolonged (>1 yr) opioid use after index surgery.

Conclusion. We observed a higher prevalence of chronic opioid use among women following lumbar fusion surgery. Female sex was independently associated with prolonged opioid use after index surgery.

Level of Evidence: 3

In this retrospective analysis of 13,257 adult patients from a large insurance database who underwent 1,2 or 3-level lumbar decompression and fusion surgery between 2007-2006, we observed that women had higher prevalence of chronic opioid use and female sex was independently associated with prolonged opioid use following lumbar fusion surgery.

Department of Neurosurgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Owoicho Adogwa, MD, MPH, Department of Neurosurgery, Rush University Medical Center, 1725 W. Harrison, Suite 855, Chicago, IL 60612; E-mail: owoicho.adogwa@gmail.com

Received 10 July, 2018

Revised 12 October, 2018

Accepted 3 December, 2018

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work.

No relevant financial activities outside the submitted work.

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