Risk of Misuse of Opioids By Family Members

by Julia Samuel on December 18, 2017 at 2:59 PM
Risk of Misuse of Opioids By Family Members

Prescription opioid use by one household member is associated with prescription opioid use in other household members.

Millions of opioid prescriptions are dispensed each year in the United States and unused opioids stored in household medicine cabinets are opportunities for drug sharing. However, whether is unknown.


Claims data for commercial insurance beneficiaries sharing a health plan from 2000 to 2014 were used to study the cause.

Outpatient pharmacy dispensing of a prescription opioid vs prescription NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) started by a household member (exposure); new dispensing by an outpatient pharmacy of a prescription opioid for another household member (outcome) was correlated.

Study Findings

The one-year risk of prescription opioid use was an absolute 0.71 percent higher among people in households where another person had an opioid prescription compared with households with an NSAID prescription. Living in a household with a prescription opioid user may increase the risk of prescription opioid use. Opioid prescribing decisions may need to consider the context within which the medications will be used and the potential risk of subsequent opioid initiation by other people in a household.

Source: Eurekalert
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