Impact of a Graduated Approach on Opioid Initiation and Loss of Earnings Following Workplace Injury: A Time Series Analysis

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Objective:The aim of this study was to explore the impact of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's (WSIB's) graduated approach to opioid management on opioid prescribing and disability claim duration.Methods:We studied patterns of opioid use and disability claim duration among Ontarians who received benefits through the WSIB between 2002 and 2013. We used interventional time series analysis to assess the impact of the WSIB graduated formulary on these trends.Results:After the introduction of the graduated formulary, initiation of short- and long-acting opioids fell significantly (P < 0.0001). We also observed a shift toward the use of short-acting opioids alone (P < 0.0001). Although disability claim duration declined, this could not be ascribed to the intervention (P = 0.18).Conclusion:A graduated opioid formulary may be an effective tool for providers to promote more appropriate opioid prescribing.

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