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scientific articles

Patterns of opioid use in sickle cell disease

key information

source: American Journal of Hematology

year: 2016

authors: Han J, Saraf SL, Zhang X, Gowhari M, Molokie RE, Hassan J, Alhandalous C, Jain S, Younge J, Abbasi T, Machado RF, Gordeuk VR

summary/abstract:

Pain, the hallmark complication of sickle cell disease (SCD), is largely managed with opioid analgesics in the United States, but comprehensive data regarding the long-term use of opioids in this patient population is lacking. The pain medication prescription records from a cohort of 203 SCD patients were analyzed. Twenty-five percent were not prescribed opioid medications while 47% took only short-acting opioids, 1% took only long-acting opioids, and 27% took a combination of short-acting and long-acting opioids. The median (interquartile range) daily opioid dose was 6.1 mg (1.7-26.3 mg) of oral morphine equivalents, which is lower than the published opioid use among patients with other pain syndromes. The dose of opioids correlated with the number of admissions due to vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) (r = 0.53, P < 0.001). When the patients were grouped into quartiles based on daily dose opioid use, a logistic regression model showed that history of avascular necrosis (AVN) (OR: 2.87, 95% CI: 1.37-6.02, P = 0.005), 25-OHD levels (OR: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.38-0.93, P = 0.024) and total bilirubin concentration (OR: 0.64, 95% CI: 0.42-0.99, P = 0.043) were independently associated with opioid use quartiles. In conclusion, doses and types of opioid medications used by adult SCD patients vary widely. Our findings implicate AVN and lower vitamin D levels as factors associated with higher opioid use. They also suggest an association of higher bilirubin levels, possibly suggesting higher hemolytic rate, with lower opioid use.

organization: University of Illinois at Chicago; Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Chicago; Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence, University of Florida

DOI: 10.1002/ajh.24498

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