Authors: Salz T, Lavery JA, Lipitz-Snyderman AN, Boudreau DM, Moryl N, Gillespie EF, Korenstein D
Title: Trends in Opioid Use Among Older Survivors of Colorectal, Lung, and Breast Cancers.
Journal: J Clin Oncol 37(12):1001-1011
Date: 2019 Apr 20
PubMed ID: 30817249
Abstract: PURPOSE: Cancer survivors may be at increased risk for opioid-related harms. Trends in opioid use over time since diagnosis are unknown. METHODS: Using data from SEER and Medicare, we conducted multilevel logistic regression analyses to compare chronic opioid use (≥ 90 consecutive days) among opioid-naïve survivors of colorectal, lung, and breast cancers diagnosed from 2008 to 2013 and matched with noncancer controls. Among cases and controls with chronic use, we compared rates of high-dose opioid use (average ≥ 90 morphine milligram equivalents daily). RESULTS: We included 46,789 survivors and 138,136 noncancer controls. In the first year after the index date (survivor's diagnosis date), chronic use among colorectal and lung cancer survivors exceeded chronic use among controls (colorectal cancer: odds ratio, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.22 to 1.47; lung cancer: odds ratio, 2.55; 95% CI, 2.34 to 2.77). Differences in chronic use between survivors and controls declined each year after the index date. Chronic use among breast cancer survivors was less than that of controls each year after the index date. Survivors with chronic use were more likely to have a high daily dose than controls with chronic use in the first 3 to 5 years. CONCLUSION: Among three large populations of older cancer survivors, chronic opioid use varied by cancer. However, by 6 years after diagnosis, survivors were no longer more likely to be chronic users than controls. Strategies for appropriate pain management during and after cancer treatment should take into account the risks associated with chronic high-dose opioid use.