Current Issue - Opioid Guidelines Special Issue - Vol 20 Issue 2S


  1. 2017;20;S93-S109Prescription Opioid Abuse in Chronic Pain: An Updated Review of Opioid Abuse Predictors and Strategies to Curb Opioid Abuse: Part 1
    Comprehensive Review
    Alan D. Kaye, MD, PhD, Mark R. Jones, MD, Adam M Kaye, PharmD, Juan G Ripoll, MD, Vincent Galan, MD, Burton D. Beakley, MD, Frank Calixto, MD, Jamie L. Bolden, BS, Richard D. Urman, MD, and Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD.

Chronic pain and prescription opioid abuse are extremely prevalent both in this country and worldwide. Consequences of opioid misuse can be life-threatening with significant morbidity and mortality, exacting a heavy toll on patients, physicians, and society. Individuals with chronic pain and co-occurring substance use disorders and/or mental health disorders, are at a higher risk for misuse of prescribed opioids. Opioid abuse and misuse occurs for a variety of reasons, including self-medication, use for reward, compulsive use because of addiction, and diversion for profit.

There is a significant need for treatment approaches that balance treating chronic pain; while minimizing risks for opioid abuse, misuse, and diversion. The use of chronic opioid therapy for chronic non-cancer pain has increased dramatically in the past 2 decades in conjunction with associated increases in the abuse of prescribed opioids and accidental opioid overdoses. Consequently, a validated screening instrument which provides an effective and rational method of selecting patients for opioid therapy, predicting risk, and identifying problems once they arise could be of enormous benefit in clinical practice. Such an instrument could potentially curb the risk of iatrogenic addiction. Although several screening instruments and strategies have been introduced in recent years, there is no single test or instrument which can reliably and accurately predict those patients not suitable for opioid therapy or identify those who need increased vigilance or monitoring during therapy. At present, screening for opioid abuse includes assessment of premorbid and comorbid substance abuse; assessment of aberrant drug-related behaviors; risk factor stratification; and utilization of opioid assessment screening tools. Multiple opioid assessment screening tools and instruments have been developed by various authors. In addition, urine drug testing, monitoring of prescribing practices, prescription monitoring programs, opioid treatment agreements, and utilization of universal precautions are essential. Presently, a combination of strategies is recommended to stratify risk, to identify and understand aberrant drug related behaviors, and to tailor treatments accordingly.

This manuscript builds on the 2012 opioid guidelines published in Pain Physician and the 2016 guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It reviews the current state of knowledge regarding the growing problem of opioid abuse and misuse; known risk factors; and methods of predicting, assessing, monitoring, and addressing opioid abuse and misuse in patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

Key words: Opioids, misuse, abuse, chronic pain, prevalence, risk assessment, risk management, drug monitoring, aberrant drug-related behavior