• Article

Opioid tolerance and urine drug testing among initiates of extended-release or long-acting opioids in Food and Drug Administration's Sentinel System

OBJECTIVE: A risk evaluation and mitigation strategy for extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioid analgesics was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. Our objective was to assess frequency of opioid tolerance and urine drug testing for individuals initiating ER/LA opioid analgesics.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: Sentinel, a distributed database with electronic healthcare data on >190 million predominantly commercially insured members.

PATIENTS, PARTICIPANTS: Members under age 65 initiating ER/LA opioid analgesics between January 2009 and December 2013.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): We examined the proportion of opioid-tolerant-only ER/LA opioid analgesic initiates meeting tolerance criteria: receipt of ≥30 mg oxycodone equivalents per day in 7 days prior to the first opioid-tolerant-only dispensing. We separately examined the proportion of new users of extended-release oxycodone (ERO) and other ER/LA opioid analgesics with a claim for a urine drug test in the 30 days prior to, and separately for the 183 days after, dispensing.

RESULTS: We identified 79,824 ERO, 7,343 extended-release hydromorphone, and 91,778 transdermal fentanyl opi-oid-tolerant-only episodes. Tolerance criteria were met in 64 percent of ERO, 64 percent of extended-release hydromorphone and 40 percent of transdermal fentanyl episodes. We identified 210,581 incident ERO and 311,660 other ER/LA opioid analgesic episodes. Use of urine drug testing for ERO compared with other ER/LA opioid analgesics was: 4 percent vs 14 percent respectively in the 30 days prior to initiation and 9 percent vs 23 percent respectively in the 183 days following initiation.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest potential areas for improving appropriate ER/LA opioid analgesic prescribing practices.

Citation

Larochelle, M. R., Cocoros, N. M., Popovic, J., Dee, E. C., Kornegay, C., Ju, J., & Racoosin, J. A. (2017). Opioid tolerance and urine drug testing among initiates of extended-release or long-acting opioids in Food and Drug Administration's Sentinel System. Journal of Opioid Management, 13(5), 315-327. DOI: 10.5055/jom.2017.0400

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