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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 Feb 2021 - 12 Feb 2021


Human Studies

2021 Feb 04


Post-traumatic stress disorder and risky opioid use among persons living with HIV and chronic pain.


Bhatraju E, Liebschutz JM, Lodi S, Forman LS, Lira MC, Kim TW, Colasanti J, Del Rio C, Samet JH, Tsui JI
AIDS Care. 2021 Feb 04:1-8.
PMID: 33535800.


Persons with HIV (PWH) experience chronic pain and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at higher rates than the general population, and more often receive opioid medications to treat chronic pain. A known association exists between PTSD and substance use disorders, but less is known about the relationship between PTSD and risky opioid use among PWH taking prescribed opioid medications. In this observational study of PWH on long-term opioid medications for pain we examined associations between PTSD symptom severity based on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5, response range 0-80) and the following outcomes: 1) risk for opioid misuse (COMM score ≥13); 2) risky alcohol use (AUDIT score ≥8); 3) concurrent benzodiazepine prescription; and 4) morphine equivalent dose. Among 166 patients, 38 (23%) had a PCL-5 score over 38, indicating high PTSD symptom burden. Higher PCL-5 score (per 10 point difference) was associated with increased odds of opioid misuse (aOR 1.55; 95%CI: 1.31-1.83) and risky drinking (aOR: 1.28;1.07-1.52). No significant association was observed between PCL-5 score and benzodiazepine prescriptions or morphine equivalent dose. These findings suggest that when addressing alcohol and opioid use in PWH on long term opioid therapy, attention to PTSD symptoms is especially important given the higher risk for risky alcohol and opioid use among patients with this common comorbid condition.