- A review of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database reveals that 83% of patients with metastatic oral cavity/oropharynx carcinoma received opioid prescriptions during the treatment period, with 7% continuing use at 6 months.
Why this matters
- Opioids are an important component of cancer pain management, but also have high risk for abuse.
- 83.1% of patients received an opioid prescription during treatment.
- 15.4% of patients had continued opioid prescriptions at 3 months;
- 7.0% of patients had continued opioid prescriptions at 6 months.
- Factors associated with continued use at 3 and 6 months included tobacco use (OR, 2.23 [95% CI, 1.05-4.71] and 3.84 [95% CI, 1.44-10.24], respectively) and prescription prior to treatment (OR, 3.84 [95% CI, 2.45-5.91] and 3.56 [95% CI, 1.95-6.50], respectively).
- Oxycodone prescribed at the first opioid was inversely associated with continued use at 3 and 6 months (OR, 0.33 [95% CI, 0.17-0.62] and 0.26 [95% CI, 0.10-0.67], respectively).
- 976 patients with stage I-IVB oral cavity or oropharynx cancer were analyzed for opiate use.
- Funding: NIH/National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences, University of Colorado.
- Retrospective study design.