Clinical factors associated with prescription drug use disorder in urban primary care patients with chronic pain

J Pain. 2010 Nov;11(11):1047-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2009.10.012. Epub 2010 Mar 24.


This study examined characteristics associated with prescription drug use disorder (PDUD) in primary-care patients with chronic pain from a cross-sectional survey conducted at an urban academically affiliated safety-net hospital. Participants were 18 to 60 years old, had pain for ≥ 3 months, took prescription or nonprescription analgesics, and spoke English. Measurements included the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (PDUD, other substance use disorders (SUD), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]); Graded Chronic Pain Scale, smoking status; family history of SUD; and time spent in jail. Of 597 patients (41% male, 61% black, mean age 46 years), 110 (18.4%) had PDUD of whom 99 (90%) had another SUD. In adjusted analyses, those with PDUD were more likely than those without any current or past SUD to report jail time (OR 5.1, 95% CI 2.8-9.3), family history of SUD (OR 3.4, 1.9-6), greater pain-related limitations (OR 3.8, 1.2-11.7), cigarette smoking (OR 3.6, 2-6.2), or to be white (OR 3.2, 1.7-6), male (OR 1.9, 1.1-3.5) or have PTSD (OR 1.9, 1.1-3.4). PDUD appears increased among those with easily identifiable characteristics. The challenge is to determine who, among those with risk factors, can avoid, with proper management, developing the increasingly common diagnosis of PDUD.

Perspective: This article examines risk factors for prescription drug use disorder (PDUD) among a sample of primary-care patients with chronic pain at an urban, academic, safety-net hospital. The findings may help clinicians identify those most at risk for developing PDUD when developing appropriate treatment plans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Pain Measurement* / methods
  • Prescription Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Primary Health Care / trends
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Urban Population / trends
  • Young Adult


  • Prescription Drugs