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Work Enabling Opioid Management

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Objective:

This study describes the relationship between opioid prescribing and ability to work.Methods:

The opioid prescription patterns of 4994 claimants were studied. Three groups were constructed: 1) at least 3 consecutive months prescribed (chronic opioid therapy; COT); 2) less than 3 consecutive months prescribed (acute opioid therapy; AOT); and 3) no opioids prescribed. Variables included sex, age, daily morphine equivalent dose (MED), days opioids were prescribed, temporary total days (TTDs), and medical/indemnity/total costs.
Results:

The COT versus AOT claimants had higher opioid costs ($8618 vs $94), longer TTD (636.2 vs 182.3), and average MED (66.8 vs 34.9). Only 2% of the COT cohort were not released to work. Fifty-seven percent of patients in the COT category (64 of 112) were released to work while still receiving opioids.
Conclusion:

COT does not preclude ability to work when prescribing within established guidelines.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Lavin); Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Drs Kalia, Tao); Strategic Risk and Strategy Management, Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Mr Yuspeh); Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Mr Yuspeh, Dr Bernacki); Workers’ Compensation Department, Johns Hopkins Health System & Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland (Ms Barry); Dell Medical School—The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (Dr Bernacki).

Publication date: August 1, 2017

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