Patient Characteristics Associated with Opioid versus Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Management of Chronic Low Back Pain

James Breckenridge; David J. Clark, MD

The Journal of Pain


Regression analysis was performed, which resulted in the identification of four variables of age, depression, personality disorder and history of substance abuse as being closely linked to the use of opioids for the treatment of back pain in preference to NSAIDs alone. Pain intensity did not predict opioid use.

Many physicians express uncertainty regarding the long-term effectiveness of opioids, as well as their potential for eliciting addiction. Factors found to be most strongly associated with opioid use for low back pain had to do with psychiatric history, specifically depression, personality disorder and a history of substance abuse.