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Papers of the Week

2020 Aug 27

Curr Med Res Opin

Opioid dispensing among adult Medicaid enrollees by diabetes status.


Ng B P, Rabold E, Guy GP, Park C, Zhang P, Smith BD
Curr Med Res Opin. 2020 Aug 27:1.
PMID: 32851888.


Diabetes disproportionately affects low income individuals, many of whom are covered by Medicaid. Comorbidities and complications of diabetes can lead to chronic pain; however, little is known about opioid use patterns among Medicaid enrollees with diabetes. This study examined opioid dispensing among Medicaid enrollees by diabetes status. Medicaid claims data from 2014 were used to examine opioid dispensing by diabetes status among 622,992 adult enrollees aged 19-64 years. A logistic model adjusting for demographics and comorbidities was used to examine the association between diabetes and opioid dispensing among enrollees. Analyses were completed in 2019. Overall, 61.6% of enrollees with diabetes filled at least one opioid prescription compared to 31.8% of enrollees without diabetes. A higher proportion of enrollees with diabetes had long-term opioid prescriptions (>90 days' supply) (with diabetes: 51.0% vs. without: 32.1%, p < 0.001). Characteristics of individual prescriptions, including daily morphine milligram equivalents (45.9 vs. 49.4), formulation (percent short-acting: 91.5% vs. 90.7%), and type of opioids (i.e. percent hydrocodone: 46.7 vs. 45.3), were similar for those with and without diabetes. After adjustment, enrollees with diabetes were 1.43 times more likely to receive an opioid prescription compared to those without (OR 1.43, 95% CI =1.40-1.46). Medicaid enrollees with diabetes were prescribed opioids more frequently and were more likely to have longer opioid supply than enrollees without diabetes. For practitioners who care for patients with diabetes, aligning pain management approaches with evidence-based resources, like the , can encourage safer opioid prescribing practices.