Effect of surgery on the long-term use of opioids in patients with degenerative back disorders: a retrospective register-based study

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Abstract

PURPOSE: This study based exclusively on register-data provides a scientific basis for further research on the use of opioids in patients with degenerative back disorder. The main objective of this study is to investigate whether surgically treated back pain patients have the same risk of being long-term opioid users as back pain patients who did not have surgery.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective register-based cohort study based on all patients diagnosed with a degenerative back disorder at the Spine Center of Southern Denmark from 2011 to 2017. The primary outcome of the study was the use of opioids two years after the patient's first hospital contact with a degenerative back condition. Fisher exact tests were used for descriptive analyses. The effect of the surgery was estimated using adjusted logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS: For patients who used opioids before the first hospital contact, the ratio for long-term opioid use for surgically treated patients is significantly lower than for non-surgically treated patients (OR = 0.75, 95%CI (0.66; 0.86)). For patients who did not use opioids before, the ratio for long-term opioid use for surgically treated patients does not differ from that of non-surgically treated patients (OR = 1.01, 95%CI (0.84; 1.22)).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a degenerative back disorder who used opioids before their first visit to a specialized spine center have a lower risk of becoming long-term opioid users if they were surgically treated. Whereas for patients who did not use opioids before the first visit, surgical treatment does not influence the risk of becoming long-term opioid users.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Volume32
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)4444-4451
ISSN0940-6719
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Degenerative back disorders
  • Hospital contacts
  • Opioids use
  • Register data
  • Retrospective study
  • Surgical treatment
  • Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy
  • Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Back Pain/drug therapy
  • Cohort Studies

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