Opioid Prescribing Increased During Early Months of Pandemic, Study Suggests

Treating patients in pain with nonpharmacologic therapy (for example, physical therapy and/or complementary medicine) in place of or in combination with opioid therapy is known to help reduce pain and improve physical function without the risk of addiction. Areport inJAMA Network Open now suggests that during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients in pain were more likely to receive opioids than nonpharmacologic therapy compared with the same period the previous year.“The decrease in nonpharmacologic therapy and increase in opioid prescription during the COVID-19 pandemic found in this cross-sectional study … may exacerbate the U.S. opioid epidemic,” wrote Byungkyu Lee, Ph.D., of Indiana University Bloomington and colleagues. “[P]olicies that markedly ex pand the use of nonaddictive treatments, such as physical therapy for chronic pain management, are urgently needed.”Lee and colleagues studied weekly claims data from 24 million U.S. patients in Optum ’s nationwide commercial insurance database from January 1, 2019, through September 31, 2020. The researchers specifically focused their analysis on patients in the database with limb or extremity pain; joint pain and nonsystemic, noninflammatory arthritic disorders; back pain; and neck pain. They compared weekly rates of opioid prescriptions to the patients, the strength and duration of opioid prescriptions, and the use of nonpharmacologic therapy during the pandemic compared with the patterns in 2019.T...
Source: Psychiatr News - Category: Psychiatry Tags: complimentary medicine COVID-19 insurance database JAMA Network Open opioids pandemic physical therapy Source Type: research