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Healthcare resource utilisation and cost analysis associated with opioid analgesic use for non-cancer pain: A case-control, retrospective study between 2005 and 2015
British Journal of Pain, Volume: 16, Issue: 2, Start page: 204946372110458
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ObjectiveTo examine differences in healthcare utilisation and costs associated with opioid prescriptions for non-cancer pain issued in primary care.MethodA longitudinal, case-control study retrospectively examined Welsh healthcare data for the period 1 January 2005–31 December 2015. Data were extrac...
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ObjectiveTo examine differences in healthcare utilisation and costs associated with opioid prescriptions for non-cancer pain issued in primary care.MethodA longitudinal, case-control study retrospectively examined Welsh healthcare data for the period 1 January 2005–31 December 2015. Data were extracted from the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank. Subjects, aged 18 years and over, were included if their primary care record contained at least one of six overarching pain diagnoses during the study period. Subjects were excluded if their record also contained a cancer diagnosis in that time or the year prior to the study period. Case subjects also received at least one prescription for an opioid analgesic. Controls were matched by gender, age, pain-diagnosis and socioeconomic deprivation. Healthcare use included primary care visits, emergency department (ED) and outpatient (OPD) attendances, inpatient (IP) admissions and length of stay. Cost analysis for healthcare utilisation used nationally derived unit costs for 2015. Differences between case and control subjects for resource use and costs were analysed and further stratified by gender, prescribing persistence (PP) and deprivation.ResultsData from 3,286,215 individuals were examined with 657,243 receiving opioids. Case subjects averaged 5 times more primary care visits, 2.8 times more OPD attendances, 3 times more ED visits and twice as many IN admissions as controls. Prescription persistence over 6 months and greater deprivation were associated with significantly greater utilisation of healthcare resources. Opioid prescribing was associated with 69% greater average healthcare costs than in control subjects. National Health Service (NHS) healthcare service costs for people with common, pain-associated diagnoses, receiving opioid analgesics were estimated to be £0.9billion per year between 2005 and 2015.ConclusionReceipt of opioid prescriptions was associated with significantly greater healthcare utilisation and accompanying costs in all sectors. Extended prescribing durations are particularly important to address and should be considered at the point of initiation.
Opioid analgesics, non-cancer pain, resource utilisation, healthcare costs, cost analysis
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Pharmacy Research UK grant number PRUK-2016-PA1-A. ED’s PhD is partly supported by funding from Research Capacity Building Collaboration (RCBC Wales).