Validation of a new risk assessment tool: the Brief Risk Questionnaire

J Opioid Manag. 2015 Mar-Apr;11(2):171-83. doi: 10.5055/jom.2015.0266.


Opioids remain a common method of treating chronic pain conditions despite some controversy. In an effort to address some of the risks of opioid medications, opioid risk assessment has become a standard of care when opioids are used to treat a chronic pain condition. Research to date has found that many currently available patient-completed written questionnaires are relatively poor at identifying which patients will engage in medication aberrant behavior in the future. Clinical interview techniques have been found to provide better prediction, but practitioners often prefer the convenience of patient-completed tools. In this study, a new brief patient-completed risk tool, the Brief Risk Questionnaire (BRQ), was created and compared with a structured clinical interview and two commonly used patient-completed risk assessment tools: the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) and Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain-Revised (SOAPP-R). The different risk assessment measures were administered to 454 patients at a pain clinic and their prediction of medication aberrant behavior at 6-month follow-up was compared. Results found that the BRQ was able to predict future medication aberrant behavior better than the other two patient-completed risk measures and almost as well overall as a structured clinical interview rating system. This study indicates that the BRQ could be a useful new tool for clinicians in conducting opioid risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics, Opioid