The Journal of Pain Summary
Highlight from The Journal of Pain (Volume 19, No. 10, October 2018 Issue)
Prescription Medication Use Among Community-Based U.S. Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain
Anna Shmagel, Linh Ngo, Kristine Ensrud, Robert Foley
Previous studies have suggested there is excessive opioid analgesic prescribing in the United States. A national population-based survey reported 12 % opioid use among U.S. adults with low back pain. Researchers from the University of Minnesota sought to evaluate the use of different classes of prescription medications used for management of chronic low back pain by analyzing demographic characteristics for opioid use in low back pain.
Data for the study were sourced from the Back Pain Survey within the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The low back pain sample consisted of 700 survey participants with a history of daily pain lasting every day for at least 3 months.
Results showed that 37% of respondents took at least one prescription medication in the past 30 days. Within that group, 19% used opioids, 10% nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs % muscle relaxants and 7% gabapentin or pregabalin. Further, opioids were often coadministered with other CNS-active medications, including nonpain antidepressants and anxiolytics.
The authors concluded that opioids were the most commonly used class of prescription pain medications in the study patients with chronic low back pain, often used long-term. They also found that opioid use was particularly prevalent among those without a college education.