People with mental health conditions more likely to fill long-term opioid prescriptions, study finds

February 3, 2017
Patrick Quinn

Patrick Quinn, PhD

When it comes to translational research, Patrick Quinn has found that working with an interdisciplinary team is critical.

That’s why he’s glad he came to Indiana University.

Quinn, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at IU Bloomington. He credits working with mentors through the Indiana CTSI and a pre-doctoral internship at the IU School of Medicine with enabling him to establish a research group with clinical and basic research expertise.

“I came from being a grad student in a psychology department in Texas with no medical school at the time,” Dr. Quinn said. “Coming to IU has allowed me to make connections with pain clinicians and pain researchers.”

Dr. Quinn is first author of a study on opioid prescribing patterns published January 2017 in Pain. His interdisciplinary research team—including mentors Kurt Kroenke, MD, Indiana CTSI associate director, and Brian D’Onofrio, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences—studied a nationwide database of more than 10 million patients who filed private insurance claims for opioid prescriptions between 2004 and 2013.

They found patients with behavioral and psychological conditions, such as substance use disorders, suicidal or self-injurious behavior, motor vehicle accidents, and depressive, anxiety, and sleep disorders, were more likely than patients without these conditions to be prescribed long-term opioid therapies of at least six months in duration.

“What this study tells us is that the people who are getting prescribed long-term opioids are more likely to have pre-existing mental health conditions, and that’s a patient population that is perhaps at greater risk of negative consequences from opioids,” Dr. Quinn said.

These results replicate prior findings using smaller datasets.

Dr. Quinn said the findings reinforce calls to integrate psychiatric or psychological services into the care of patients with chronic pain.

“Our results provide further support for prescription monitoring programs and other methods of alerting clinicians to patients with higher risk opioid prescription quantities and medication combinations, particularly when multiple providers are involved in a patient’s care,” he said.

The study was funded in part by a postdoctoral fellowship award to Dr. Quinn from the Indiana CTSI, which helped him secure external funding through the National Institutes of Health to continue the research.

—By Andrea Zeek,

|2018-10-24T12:23:51-04:00February 3rd, 2017|Comments Off on People with mental health conditions more likely to fill long-term opioid prescriptions, study finds

About the Author: James Dudley

James Dudley

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