FRIDAY, July 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Adults with cerebral palsy and spina bifida (CP/SB) obtain significantly higher prescription dosages of opioids than adults without CP/SB, according to a study published online July 7 in Heliyon.

Mark D. Peterson, Ph.D., from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues compared opioid prescription patterns for differing pain types and overlapping pain among adults living with and without CP/SB. The analysis included 22,647 privately insured adults with CP/SB and 931,528 controls.

The researchers found that adults living with CP/SB had a higher oral morphine equivalent prescription pattern per year than adults without CP or SB (8,981.0 versus 4,549.1) and for no pain (4,010.8 versus 1,623.53), isolated pain (7,179.9 versus 3,531.0), and pain multimorbidity (15,752.4 versus 8,492.9), with differences likely clinically meaningful. Prescribed oral morphine equivalents were higher for adults with CP/SB versus control and no pain (odds ratio, 1.51), isolated pain (odds ratio, 1.48), and pain multimorbidity (odds ratio, 1.79).

“Our findings for adults with CP/SB who have pain multimorbidity are of great concern, given the known links between persistent opioid use patterns and behavioral and pain disorders, as well as with overdose mortality,” the authors write. “Increasing public health awareness of the pain taxonomy, improving clinical pain screening strategies, and developing better referral options for pain management in these populations may help reduce the burden of opioid addiction and overdose.”

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