Work Enabling Opioid Management

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Objective:This study describes the relationship between opioid prescribing and ability to work.Methods:The opioid prescription patterns of 4994 claimants were studied. Three groups were constructed: 1) at least 3 consecutive months prescribed (chronic opioid therapy; COT); 2) less than 3 consecutive months prescribed (acute opioid therapy; AOT); and 3) no opioids prescribed. Variables included sex, age, daily morphine equivalent dose (MED), days opioids were prescribed, temporary total days (TTDs), and medical/indemnity/total costs.Results:The COT versus AOT claimants had higher opioid costs ($8618 vs $94), longer TTD (636.2 vs 182.3), and average MED (66.8 vs 34.9). Only 2% of the COT cohort were not released to work. Fifty-seven percent of patients in the COT category (64 of 112) were released to work while still receiving opioids.Conclusion:COT does not preclude ability to work when prescribing within established guidelines.

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