Opioids: What Leads to Long-Term Use

Long-term opioid use risk increased after first few days of use

(RxWiki News) After a few days of using opioids, the risk of long-term use may rise.

That's according to a new study of nearly 1.3 million patients who had been prescribed an opioid for the first time. The researchers behind this study found that longer-term initial opioid painkiller use was tied to a higher risk of very long-term use later on.

This study added to the understanding of patients' transition from short-term to long-term opioid use, the study authors noted. 

This study found that an opioid prescription that lasted for one day was tied to a 6 percent risk of using opioids one year later. Those whose first opioid prescription laster for eight days or longer had a 13.5 percent risk. At 31 days, that risk jumped to nearly 30 percent.

These findings led the study authors to say that opioid prescriptions for short-term pain should be for the shortest amount of time possible. This recommendation is in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you have any questions or concerns about your opioid prescription or use, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

This study was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The authors disclosed no outside funding sources or potential conflicts of interest.