1 in 5 have prescription opioid use disorder: German study

  • Just JM & al.
  • PLoS One
  • 1 Jan 2020

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • The first known study of the prevalence of prescription opioid use disorder (pOUD) in a representative, nonclinical population sample in Germany found the 1-year prevalence to be 21.2%.

Why this matters

  • Although prescription opioid use is increasing in Europe, research on the rate of pOUD in European countries is limited.

Study design

  • Cross-sectional secondary data analysis of 9204 participants in the 2015 Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse in Germany.
  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • 3.5% (n=275) of participants had received an opioid prescription in the previous year.
  • Of those, 21.2% were diagnosed with pOUD, 6.4% of whom had moderate and severe pOUD.
  • 15.3% of the pOUD group reported the additional use of illegal opioids in the past year vs 3.8% of those without pOUD.
  • Independent risk factors (ORs; 95% CIs) for pOUD included:
    • Depression: 2.69 (1.13-6.38).
    • Inexplicable physical complaints: 2.68 (1.14-6.31).
    • Other psychiatric diagnosis: 4.12 (1.36-12.43).
  • Use of nonopioid painkillers was associated with decreased risk for pOUD (OR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.09-0.81).

Limitations

  • Potential underreporting of addictive behavior.