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2 Aug 2011

Study Focuses on Population Misusing Opioids

A new study says more than half the people who take opioids for chronic pain are likely to still be taking the painkillers five years later.

A study by researchers from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University of Washington and HealthCore Inc., examined populations using both private insurance and Medicaid over a five-year period.


The study, covering 23,419 people with private insurance and 6,848 people enrolled in Arkansas Medicaid, used medical and pharmacy claims from January 2000 through December 2005. The study excluded people who had filled prescriptions for opioids if they were in long-term or hospice care and if they were diagnosed with cancer other than non-melanoma skin cancer.


About one in seven people using chronic opioid therapy potentially misuse opioids, according to the study. The study determined "misuse" by considering such factors as excess days supplied of opioid and multiple opioid prescriber

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