Disability benefits and change in prescription opioid dose

Sarah Gebauer, Joanne Salas, Jeffrey F. Scherrer, Sandra Burge, F. David Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Among chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients, workers' compensation is associated with longer term prescription opioid analgesic use (OAU). The aim was to study the association between receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and course of OAU. This prospective cohort study utilized data from primary care patients diagnosed with non-cancer CLBP. The outcomes were morphine equivalent dose (MED) - categorized as no OAU, 1-50mg MED, or >50mg MED - and change in MED over time using mixed multinomial logistic regression models. Covariates included sociodemographics, pain severity, pain management characteristics, continuity of care with their physician, health-related quality of life, number of comorbid health conditions, obesity, depression, and anxiety. In adjusted analysis, SSDI vs. non-SSDI patients were more likely to be receiving >50mg MED vs. no OAU at baseline (OR = 10.19; 95% CI:1.51-68.83). Differences in OAU trajectory between SSDI groups were nonsignificant (P = 0.204). Collection of SSDI benefits was an independent predictor of higher MED at baseline and persistently higher MED during 2 years of follow-up. Providers should consider the risk of persistent, high-dose opioid use in patients receiving SSDI benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-510
Number of pages8
JournalPopulation Health Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • cohort
  • disability
  • epidemiology
  • occupational health
  • opioids
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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