Incidence and Risk Factors of Long-term Opioid Use in Elderly Trauma Patients

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Objective:Evaluate the incidence and risk factors of opioid use 1 year after injury in elderly trauma patients.Background:The current epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and overdose observed in North America generally concerns young patients. Little is known on long-term opioid use among the elderly trauma population.Methods:In a retrospective observational multicenter cohort study conducted on registry data, all patients 65 years and older admitted (hospital stay >2 days) for injury in 57 adult trauma centers in the province of Quebec (Canada) between 2004 and 2014 were included. We searched for filled opioid prescriptions in the year preceding the injury, up to 3 months and 1 year after the injury.Results:In all, 39,833 patients were selected for analysis. Mean age was 79.3 years (±7.7), 69% were women, and 87% of the sample was opioid-naive. After the injury, 38% of the patients filled an opioid prescription within 3 months and 10.9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 10.6%–11.2%] filled an opioid prescription 1 year after trauma: 6.8% (95% CI 6.5%–7.1%) were opioid-naïve and 37.6% (95% CI 36.3%–38.9%) were opioid non-naive patients. Controlling for confounders, patients who filled 2 or more opioid prescriptions before the injury and those who filled an opioid prescription within 3 months after the injury were, respectively, 11.4 and 3 times more likely to use opioids 1 year after the injury compared with those who did not fill opioid prescriptions.Conclusions:These results highlight that elderly trauma patients are at risk of long-term opioid use, especially if they had preinjury or early postinjury opioid consumption.

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