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Real-world opioid use among patients with migraine enrolled in US commercial insurance and risk factors associated with migraine progression

J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2022 Nov;28(11):1272-1281. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2022.28.11.1272.


BACKGROUND: Migraineurs may be categorized as having episodic migraine (EM: < 15 headache days/month) or chronic migraine (CM: ≥ 15 days/month for > 3 months with ≥ 8 days/month having features of migraine). Opioid use has been linked to progression from EM to CM. OBJECTIVE: To describe the utilization of opioid prescriptions among patients with migraine, to determine the association between opioid use and migraine progression, and to explore demographic and clinical risk factors for migraine progression. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study used Optum’s deidentified Clinformatics Data Mart Database from January 2015 to December 2018. Adult patients with a migraine diagnosis and continuous health plan enrollment were included. Opioid use was measured by average daily morphine equivalent dose, also known as morphine milligram equivalent (MME). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the opioid use by patient demographic and clinical characteristics. A Cox proportional hazards model with stepwise selection was used to determine the risk factors of new-onset CM. RESULTS: Overall, 35% of patients with migraine (27,331 of 78,134) received prescription opioids (> 0 MME/day) during the 12-month follow-up period. Higher opioid dosage was found in patients who had CM and comorbidities of interest. Compared with patients with EM, patients with CM were twice as likely to receive at least 20 MME/day (CM 3.8% vs EM 1.9%) and had a higher median opioid day supply (CM 20 vs EM 10) during follow-up. About 7% of patients with CM with at least 1 opioid prescription had at least 50 MME/day in any 90-day period during follow-up. A significant association was found between MME level and the likelihood of new-onset CM. Additional significant risk factors of migraine progression included younger age, female sex, South and West regions, and having a diagnosis of medication overuse headache, depression, back pain, or fibromyalgia (all P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Despite guidelines and the availability of more migraine-specific treatments, opioids are still commonly prescribed to patients with migraines in real-world practice, especially for those with CM. In this study population, a higher risk of new-onset CM was associated with receiving higher opioid doses.

PMID:36282930 | DOI:10.18553/jmcp.2022.28.11.1272

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