Data Impact Challenge II Question 6

Question 6:  What proportion of acute opioid users become chronic users? What is the rate of opioid-related deaths among chronic opioid users?

Rationale
While prescription opioids are an effective treatment for acute pain, the evidence for their use in non-cancer related chronic pain management is weak. The downsides of chronic opioid use are numerous and have been the subject of recent news headlines. Understanding the relationship between acute and chronic use of opioids for non-cancer related pain and opioid-related deaths in chronic users would help to identify the scope of the issue for policymakers.

Results

The Ontario Opioid Investigators drew from seven datasets for their analysis, covering a period of 18 years and over 2 million new opioid recipients.

Guiding Specifications

  1. The analysis should determine the proportion of acute opioid users that become chronic opioid users. Opioid use for cancer-related pain should be excluded.
    • Numerator: Number of individuals with at least 1 ongoing prescription for opioids at six months and at 12 months.
    • Denominator: Number of individuals with 1 or more new prescriptions for opioids within a pre-defined timeframe.
  2. What is the rate of opioid-related deaths among chronic opioid users?
    • Numerator: Number of opioid-related deaths among chronic opioid users within specified timeframe.
    • Denominator: Number of individuals with at least 1 ongoing prescription for opioids at six months and at 12 months.

Sample: Minimum sample size of 10,000 individuals with 1 or more new prescriptions for opioids.

Participating Team

Ontario Opioid Investigators


Team bio: Ontario Opioid Investigators: Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) with expertise in real-world drug utilization, policy, safety and effectiveness research.
Entry: PDF