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Prevalence of prescribed opioid claims among persons with nontraumatic spinal cord dysfunction in Ontario, Canada: a population-based retrospective cohort study

Guan Q, Hogan M, Calzavara A, McCormack D, Lofters AK, Patel T, Hitzig SL, Packer T, Guilcher SJT. Spinal Cord. 2021; 59(5):512-9. Epub 2021 Jan 25. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41393-020-00605-1


Study Design — Cohort study

Objective — To determine the prevalence and to identify predictors of prescription opioid use among persons with nontraumatic spinal cord dysfunction within 1 year after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation.

Setting — Ontario, Canada.

Methods — We conducted a retrospective cohort study using administrative data to determine predictors of receiving prescription opioids during the 1 year after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation among persons with nontraumatic spinal cord dysfunction between April 1, 2004 and March 31, 2015. We modeled the outcome using a Poisson multivariable regression and reported relative risks with 95% confidence intervals.

Results — We identified 3468 individuals with nontraumatic spinal cord dysfunction (50% male) with 67% who were aged ≥66. Over half of the cohort (60%) received opioids during the observation period. Older adults (≥66 years old) were significantly more likely to experience comorbidities (p < 0.05) but less likely to be dispensed opioids following rehabilitation discharge. Being female, previous opioid use before rehabilitation, experiencing lower continuity of care, increasing comorbidity level, low functional status, and having a previous diagnosis of osteoarthritis or mental illness were significant risk factors for receiving opioids after discharge, as shown in a multivariable analysis. Increasing length of rehabilitation stay and higher income were protective against opioid receipt after discharge.

Conclusion — Many individuals with nontraumatic spinal cord dysfunction in Ontario are prescribed opioids after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. This may be problematic due to the number of severe complications that may arise from opioid use and their use in this population warrants future research.

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