Posted on May 10, 2018, 11 p.m.
Polyneuropathy is a common painful condition especially among older populations that can result in functional impairment that was associated with increased likelihood of long term opioid therapy of 90 days or longer.
The Mayo Clinic examined associations of long term opioid therapy, functional status, adverse outcomes, and death among polyneuropathy patients. 1,993 patients being treated with opioids and a group of control patients were involved in this population based study.
Patients receiving long term opioids were found to be more likely to be diagnosed with opioid overdose, depression, or opioid dependence. Patient self reported functional status measures were unimproved or poorer among patients who were receiving long term opioid therapy according to the researchers.
Polyneuropathy was found to increase likelihood of long term opioid use. Chronic pain can’t be ruled out as source of worsened functional status. However long term opioid therapy did not improve functional status, rather the use was associated with increased risk of subsequent opioid dependency and even overdose.
It was noted that the study had limitations such as it was based on prescription data without confirmation that the prescriptions were filled and taken only as instructed and intended.
Materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals.
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- Matthew Hoffman, James C. Watson, Jennifer St Sauver, Nathan P. Staff, Christopher J. Klein. Association of Long-term Opioid Therapy With Functional Status, Adverse Outcomes, and Mortality Among Patients With Polyneuropathy. JAMA Neurology, 2017; DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.0486