Chronic pain and opioid abuse: Factors associated with health-related quality of life

Am J Addict. 2017 Dec;26(8):815-821. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12637. Epub 2017 Nov 21.


Background and objectives: While research on the separate relationships between health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and chronic pain, and HRQOL and opioid abuse has been sparse, even less work has investigated the factors associated with HRQOL in individuals who have both chronic pain and meet criteria for opioid use disorder. The data presented in this analysis should allow a better understanding the factors important to quality of life among this dual-diagnosed population.

Methods: Individuals with dual diagnoses of chronic pain and opioid use disorder were recruited for clinical research studies at Columbia University Medical Center. Participants (n = 47) completed inventories to assess pain (Brief Pain Inventory), opioid (ab)use, and depression (Beck Depression Inventory). Variable from these and other inventories, along with demographic factors (age, race, sex, pain severity, depressive symptoms, duration of opioid use, route of opioid use, amount of opioid use) were entered into a regression analysis in order to identify the strongest predictors of SF-36 Health Survey score.

Results: In the bivariate analysis we found that demographic and drug use variables were rarely associated with HRQOL. Typically, ratings of pain severity and pain interference were the best predictors. In the multivariate analysis, we found that across the several HRQOL dimensions greater Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) ratings of pain "interference" and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores were consistently associated with lower HRQOL.

Conclusions and scientific significance: These data suggest that insufficient pain management and depression are significant variables contributing to lower quality of life among individuals with chronic pain and opioid use disorder. (Am J Addict 2017;26:815-821).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Heroin Dependence / epidemiology
  • Heroin Dependence / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic