| arthritis

Rheumatic Diseases: An Increase in OUD Hospitalizations

Rates Going Up for 5 Common Musculoskeletal Diseases

The Journal of Rheumatology reports a concerning increase in hospitalizations for opioid use disorder (OUD) in patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Comparing data from 1998-2000 vs 2015-2016, OUD hospitalization rates for gout, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and low back pain have gone up, respectively, 36-fold, 14-fold, 12-fold, 9.5-fold, and 5.5 fold.

Although the study had limitations—potential misclassification of diagnostic codes; the actual costs of hospitalizations; biases due to study design—researchers feel their findings may lead to potential research to reduce OUD hospitalizations for this set of patients. The study concluded, “OUD-hospitalizations increased in all 5 musculoskeletal diseases studied, but the rate of increase differed. Awareness of these OUD-hospitalization trends in 5 musculoskeletal diseases among providers, policy-makers and patients is important. Development and implementation of interventions, policies and practices to potentially reduce OUD-associated impact in people with rheumatic diseases is needed.”


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