Guiding opioid therapy University of Southern California (USC) / National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Principal Investigator(s):

Patients on long-term opioid therapy are aging and now face magnified risk of harm with continued high-dose opioid use. These increased risks are due to age-related changes in drug metabolism, multi-morbidity, and polypharmacy. The dominant approach to mitigate these risks is to screen for aberrant patient opioid behaviors, with assessments like the Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM), so that clinicians can pre-empt misuse early through review of contractual opioid agreements or by lowering patient dosages. By focusing on opioid misuse alone, this strategy encourages forced opioid tapering that is associated with opioid overdose and mental health crisis. Many persons have mental health, trauma-related or polysubstance use disorders that need to be addressed. Directing clinician attention to the comorbid conditions associated with opioid misuse may promote safer and more effective care. Such an approach provides a broader understanding of the pain experience and may help address the reasons why patients use or misuse opioids.

The specific aims are: (1) to develop a simple experimental approach for the collection of clinical pain data and for assessing, preventing, and managing pain in later life through the electronic health record; and (2) to assess the comparative effectiveness of PainTracker, a set of questions that targets a broad range of problems associated with pain, in a randomized controlled trial.

Project Period:
September 1, 2022 August 31, 2023

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Targeted Condition(s):
Chronic disease