Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse long term opioid users having chronic pain is an issue that brings many challenges.  Such as financial costs, loss of productivity held back from doing things they love and more. Also often issues added to chronic pain that helps to complicate matters even more.  Such as abusing alcohol. For those who have chronic pain take opioids as a treatment.  If they are alcohol abuse long term opioid users they’re creating more challenges and risks.

In the July 2017 issue of the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, researchers shared findings from their research.  The topic of alcohol abuse long-term opioid users with chronic noncancer pain (1). Their research used a database that spanned a six-year period. They evaluated patients who received a 90-day supply of opioids after being diagnosed with chronic non-cancer pain.  As well as, weeding out those who also diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence.

What their research found was that, of the over 21,000 patients in the database who were receiving long-term opioid treatment. The 750 of them diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence before beginning the prescription treatment. The information showed that those 750 patients more likely to be younger.  Less likely to be in the Medicare program, and the group was 67% male.

By evaluating the information gathered, researchers able to determine patients who were diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence. They were also more likely suffering from depression, anxiety, and drug abuse or dependence. When evaluating the costs involved, there is a financial impact for those chronic pain patients. Patients taking opioids long-term who also diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence. The total health care costs for a long-term opioid patient was $25,395.  While that alcohol abuse or dependence have a health care cost of $31,991.

Another important area of concern.   According to the researchers, they have five times the rate of opioid overdose.  For those having alcohol abuse or dependence and taking opioids long-term. They also have a higher risk of accidents and injury.

Those who have chronic noncancer pain and are taking opioids long-term who also have alcohol abuse or dependence issues should speak with their doctor about getting into a recovery program.

Addressing the alcohol abuse long term opioid users and dependence issue.  It will help reduce risks associated with opioid overdose, as well as for accidents and injury.

 

Sources:

1.    Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy. A Burden of Alcohol Abuse or Dependence Among Long-Term Opioid Users with Chronic Noncancer Pain.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28650247