Opioids: family history tied to persistent postsurgical use in teenagers

  • JAMA Surg

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Long-term opioid use by a family members increases the risk for persistent opioid use by adolescents and young adults undergoing common surgical and dental procedures.

Why this matters

  • Clinicians should screen young patients before surgery or dental procedures to identify those who have family members with a history of chronic opioid use.

Study design

  • This retrospective cohort study used data from commercial insurance claims database between January 2010 and June 2016 to evaluate 346,251 opioid-naive patients (aged 13-21 years).
  • Included participants underwent 1 of 11 common surgical or dental procedures and were dependents on a family insurance plan.
  • Funding: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Key results

  • 74.3% of the sample had an initial opioid fill.
  • Among patients who had an initial prescription fill, 4.3% patients had a family member with long-term opioid use.
  • Among these patients, persistent opioid use occurred in 4.1% vs 2.4% patients with vs without long-term opioid use in a family member (aOR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.39-1.71).

Limitations

  • Causal mechanism between long-term opioid use in family members and persistent opioid use not explained.
  • Findings limited to adolescents and young adults undergoing specific surgical and dental procedures.

Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD