Importance: Opioid misuse and overuse has become an epidemic. Chronic opioid use among oral cavity cancer patients after surgery has not been described.
Objectives: To assess the prevalence of chronic opioid use in patients undergoing surgery for oral cavity cancer, and evaluate possible associated clinical factors; and the association between opioid use and survival.
Design, Setting, and Participants: For this retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing surgery for oral cavity cancer a consecutive sample of 99 patients between January 1, 2011, and September 30, 2016, were identified through the institutional cancer registry from a single academic center.
Exposures: Surgery for oral cavity cancer.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Chronic opioid use, defined as more than 90 days from surgery. Factors associated with chronic opioid use were investigated by univariable and multivariable logistic regression. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards model were used to assess overall survival and disease-free survival.
Results: The mean (SD) patient age was 62.6 (14.3) years; 60 patients (60%) were male. Chronic opioid use was observed in 41 patients (41%). On multivariable logistic regression, preoperative opioid use (odds ratio [OR], 5.6; 95% CI, 2.2-14.3), tobacco use (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.0-8.0), and development of persistence, recurrence, or a second primary tumor (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.0-7.4) were associated with chronic opioid use. Among preoperative opioid users, estimated overall survival (hazard ratio [HR], 3.2; 95% CI, 1.4-7.1) was decreased, and chronic opioid use was associated with decreased disease-free survival (HR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.1-6.6).
Conclusions and Relevance: In patients undergoing surgery for oral cavity tumors, the prevalence of chronic opioid use was considerable. Preoperative opioid use, tobacco use, and development of persistence, recurrence, or a second primary tumor were associated with chronic opioid use after surgery, and both preoperative and chronic opioid use were associated with decreased survival.