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3400 Chronic Opioid Use Pattern in Adult Patients with Sickle Cell Disease

Hemoglobinopathies, Excluding Thalassemia Clinical
Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 114. Hemoglobinopathies, Excluding Thalassemia Clinical: Poster III
Monday, December 7, 2015, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Hall A, Level 2 (Orange County Convention Center)

Jin Han, PharmD, PhD1*, Santosh L. Saraf, MD2, Xu Zhang, PhD3*, Michel Gowhari, DO3, Robert E. Molokie, MD3, Johara Hassan, MD3*, Chaher Alhandalous, MD3*, Jewel Younge, MA1*, Taimur Abbasi, MD4*, Roberto F. Machado, MD4* and Victor R. Gordeuk, MD3

1Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
2Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
3Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
4Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

Background: Pain, the hallmark complication of sickle cell disease (SCD), is largely managed with opioid analgesics in the United States (1, 2). There is a common perception that SCD patients tend to use high dose of opioids chronically (3, 4), but comprehensive data regarding the long-term use of opioids in this patient population is lacking.

Methods: A cohort of 359 adults (age ≥ 18 years old) with the diagnosis of SCD followed at University of Illinois Hospital in FY 2010-2013 was enrolled in a prospective natural history study. An outpatient clinic visit with comprehensive laboratory closest to the enrollment date was selected as the focal point of this report. A total of 140 patients had consistent outpatient follow-up defined as ³4 visits between 6 months prior to and 6 months after this clinic visit (the study period). Pain medication prescribing records, number of hospital admissions, and other clinical variables during the study period were collected and evaluated with descriptive statistics and Spearman correlation.

Results: Among the 140 patients analyzed, 74% took short-acting opioid medications and 31% took long-acting opioid medications (Table 1). The median daily opioid dose was 4.8 mg oral morphine equivalents (OME) with an interquartile range (IQR) of 0 to 14.7 mg. Sixty-six percent of patients used less than 10 mg OME daily whereas 11% used more than 50 mg OME daily (Figure 1). Among the short-acting opioids, acetaminophen-hydrocodone was the most commonly used medication (34% of patients) followed by immediate-release morphine (23%) and acetaminophen-codeine (20%) (Table 2). Extended-release morphine was used by 24% of the patients. Twelve patients (8.6%) were prescribed with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and 16% used medications treating neuropathic pain. The Spearman correlation test with Bonferroni correction showed that the dose of opioid usage was significantly associated with the number of hospital admissions due to vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) (p<0.0001) (Table 3). Hydroxyurea use, hemoglobin genotype, history of avascular necrosis (AVN) and 25-OHD levels did not correlate with opioid dose.

Summary: The doses and types of opioid medications used by adult SCD patients vary widely. The majority of patients use a relatively low dose (<10 mg OME daily). The dose of chronic opioid use has a strong correlation with the frequency of hospital admissions due to VOC, demonstrating the necessity of finding an alternative pain management approach in treating sickle cell pain.

1. L. R. Solomon, J Natl Med Assoc 102, 1025 (Nov, 2010).

2. P. Tanabe, Z. Martinovich, B. Buckley, A. Schmelzer, J. A. Paice, J Emerg Nurs 41, 227 (May, 2015).

3. W. T. Zempsky, JAMA 302, 2479 (Dec 9, 2009).

4. B. S. Shapiro, L. J. Benjamin, R. Payne, G. Heidrich, J Pain Symptom Manage 14, 168 (Sep, 1997).


Table 1. Patient Characteristics.


Figure 1. Frequency of Opioid Usage in SCD Patients.

The relative frequency = the number of patients taking certain dose of opioids/total number of patients.


Table 2. Opioid Medication Usage Pattern by SCD Patients.


Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH