Spine osteoarthritis patients most likely to use opioids preoperatively, study finds


Among osteoarthritis patients, preoperative opioid usage was highest among spine patients, according to a study in Arthritis Care & Research.

The study featured presurgical patients with end-stage OA. There were 577 patients with knee OA, 459 with hip OA and 168 with spine OA. Participants had an average age of 65.6 years, and 55.5 percent were women.

Four things to know:

1. Among all patients, 15 percent "sometimes" used opioids and 15 percent reported daily use.

2. Nearly half — 40 percent — of spine OA patients used opioids, compared to 28 percent of knee patients and 30 percent of hip patients.

3. Women younger than 65 years of age reported the greatest opioid use overall, particularly among spine patients.

4. A greater likelihood of opioid use was significantly associated with:

  • Spine OA versus knee OA
  • Obesity
  • Being a current or former smoker
  • Higher symptomatic joint count
  • Greater depressive symptoms
  • Greater pain
  • Current use of other prescription pain medications

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