Surgery For Spondylolisthesis (Spinal Stress Fractures) Reduced Chances of Opioid Dependence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH Assistant Professor Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Systems Science School of Public Health and Information Sciences University of Louisville

Dr. Ugiliweneza

Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH
Assistant Professor
Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center
Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine
Department of Health Management and Systems Science
School of Public Health and Information Sciences
University of Louisville

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study stems from the observed opioid crisis in the United States in recent years. Opioids are used in the management of pain. In the spine population, back pain is one of the main conditions for which opioids are consumed.

A frequent cause of that pain is degenerative spondylolisthesis. We aimed to evaluate the effect of surgery, which has been shown to improve outcomes, on opioid dependence. We found that surgery is associated with reduced odds of opioid dependence.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: One interesting finding that we observed is that patients are twice less likely to become opioid dependent than they are to become dependent after surgery. However, an important note to keep in mind is that about 10% of patients will be opioid dependent after surgery (about 6% prior non-dependent and 4% prior dependent).  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Surgery has been proven to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis. Future research should explore why some patients remain or become opioid dependent after surgery.

It would also be interesting to look at the effect of other treatments for degenerative spondylolisthesis (such as epidural steroid injections for example) on opioid dependence.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Spine surgeons should have systems that help them recognize patients who are likely to become opioid dependent after surgery. Our paper discusses factors to watch for such as younger age, prior dependence, etc… This would help provide targeted attention and hopefully combat the ramping opioid crisis.

The authors have no disclosures. 

Citation:

Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Posted online on June 19, 2018.
Factors predicting opioid dependence in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis: analysis from the MarketScan databases
Mayur Sharma, MD, MCh, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH1, Zaid Aljuboori, MD1, Miriam A.Nuño, PhD2, Doniel Drazin, MD3, and  Maxwell Boakye, MD, MPH, MBA1

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