From the Journals

Long-term opioid use more common in hidradenitis suppurativa



Patients with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) were found to be at a significantly higher risk of long-term opioid use compared with those who did not have HS, in a retrospective cohort study.

“These results suggest that periodic assessment of pain and screening for long-term opioid use may be warranted, particularly among patients who are older, who smoke tobacco, or who have depression and other medical comorbidities,” wrote the authors of the study (JAMA Dermatol. 2019 Sep 11. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.2610).

Researchers led by Sarah Reddy, BA, of the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/ Northwell, New Hyde Park, N.Y., used data from a health-care database that represents an estimated 17% of the U.S. population. They focused on opioid-naive adults who were in the database for at least 3 years from 2008-2018 and monitored whether they began opioid use and then maintained use for at least 1 year.

Nearly 829,000 patients were in the control group, and 22,277 were in the HS group. The mean age of those with HS was 41 years, 76% were women, and 59% were white.

Over 1 year, the crude incidence of long-term opioid use among HS patients who were opioid naive was 0.33%, compared with 0.14% of controls (P less than .001).

An analysis, adjusted for potential confounding factors, found that compared with controls, those with HS were more likely to develop long-term opioid use (odds ratio [OR], 1.53, 95% confidence interval, 1.20-1.95; P less than .001). In the adjusted analysis, long-term opioid use was increased among those in the HS group who had ever smoked tobacco (OR, 3.64, 95% CI, 2.06-6.41; P less than .001), compared with patients with HS who had never smoked; and those who had a history of depression (OR, 1.97, 95% CI, 1.21-3.19; P = .006), compared with HS patients who had not had depression.

The risk of long-term opioid use among those with HS increased by 2% with each additional year in age.

In addition, 5% of patients with HS and long-term opioid use were diagnosed with opioid use disorder over the study period. “Sex, race/ethnicity, disease duration, established dermatologic care, alcohol abuse, and nonopioid substance abuse were not associated with increased risk of long-term opioid use among patients with HS,” the authors wrote.

Emphasizing that these results “should not further stigmatize” people with HS, they said, “our hope is that the medical community, including dermatologists, will further embrace and engage in an integrated care plan that comprehensively supports the needs of patients with HS, including pain management.”

Future research, they added, “should include evaluating the association between disease severity and risk of opioid use, the role of disease-modifying therapies in reducing opioid use, and the development of effective and appropriate multimodal pain management strategies for HS.”

An educational grant to a study author from AbbVie partially funded the study. No other study funding was reported. Ms. Reddy had no disclosures; one author disclosed having received grants and personal fees from AbbVie and UCB during the study.

SOURCE: Reddy S et al. JAMA Dermatol. 2019 Sep 11. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.2610.

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