Opioid Exposure Higher Among Adults With Cerebral Palsy Versus Those Without

Exposures occur for a higher number of days per month and for a longer duration after the initial exposure
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, May 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with cerebral palsy (CP) are more likely to be exposed to opioids and for a longer duration than adults without CP, according to a study published online March 10 in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy.

Daniel G. Whitney, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues assessed population- and individual-level opioid prescription patterns for 13,929 adults with CP versus 278,538 without CP from U.S. commercial claims data between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2017.

The researchers found that adults with CP had a higher prevalence of opioid exposure (12 versus 8 percent) and days supplied monthly (median, 23 versus 17 monthly days) over seven years. At the individual level, the investigators identified six trajectory groups for CP and five for non-CP. Variably high monthly opioid volume for extended periods was seen for 14 percent of adults with CP (four distinct trajectory groups) and 8 percent of non-CP adults (three distinct groups), with higher exposure in the CP groups. Nearly absent exposure was seen for 55.7 percent with CP versus 63.3 percent of the non-CP group, while 30.4 and 28.9 percent, respectively, had consistently low exposure to opioids.

"The effects of greater opioid exposure for adults with CP is unknown, but may lead to adverse side effects in the short term or long term," the authors write. "Clinical care may need to consider history of opioid exposure when making current health assessments and developing preventive strategies to counterbalance potential adverse effects of greater opioid exposure."

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