Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the subsequent health resource utilization (HRU) between patients with migraine who received opioid medications at their emergency department (ED) visits ("opioid recipients") versus patients with migraine who did not receive opioid medications at their ED visits ("non-recipients").
Background: Previous studies have found that opioid use is common among patients with migraine at emergency settings. Medication overuse, especially the use of opioids, is associated with migraine progression, which can ultimately lead to substantial health resource use and costs. There is limited evidence on opioid use specifically in emergency settings and its impact on future HRU among people with migraine.
Method: This retrospective cohort study used electronic health record data from the Baylor Scott & White Health between December 2013 and April 2017. Adult patients who had at least 6 months of continuous enrollment before (baseline or pre-index) and after (follow-up) the first date they had an ED visit with a diagnosis of migraine (defined as index date) were enrolled in the study. Opioid use and HRU during follow-up period between opioid recipients and non-recipients were summarized and compared.
Results: A total of 788 patients met the eligibility criteria and were included in this study. During the 6-month follow-up period, compared to patients with migraine who were non-recipients at their index ED visits, opioid recipients had significantly more all-cause (3.6 [SD = 6.3] vs. 1.9 [SD = 4.8], p < 0.0001) and migraine-related (1.6 [SD = 4.2] vs. 0.6 [SD = 2.1], p < 0.0001) opioid prescriptions (RXs), and more all-cause (2.6 [SD = 4.3] vs. 1.6 [SD = 2.6], p = 0.002) and migraine-related (0.6 [SD = 1.4] vs. 0.3 [SD = 0.8], p = 0.001) ED visits. In addition, opioid recipients had higher risk of future migraine-related ED visits controlling for covariates (HR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.09-2.03, p = 0.013). Factors that were significantly (p < 0.05) related to future migraine-related ED visits include previous opioid use (HR = 2.12, 95% CI = 1.24-3.65, p = 0.007), previous ED visits (HR = 2.38, 95% CI = 1.23-4.58, p = 0.010), hypertension (HR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.07-2.00, p = 0.017), age between 45 and 64 years (HR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.48-0.97, p = 0.033), female sex (HR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.12-2.86, p = 0.015), and tobacco use disorder (HR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.07-1.97, p = 0.017). Sub-analyses were restricted to the group of patients who were opioid naïve at baseline (n = 274, defined as having ≤1 opioid RXs during the 6-month pre-index period). Patients who were baseline opioid naïve but received opioids during their index ED visits were more likely to have future migraine-related ED visits compared to patients who were baseline opioid naïve and did not receive any opioids during their index ED visits, controlling for covariates (HR = 2.90, 95% CI = 1.54-5.46, p = 0.001).
Conclusion: Opioid use among patients with migraine presenting to the ED is associated with increased future HRU, which highlights the need for optimizing migraine management in emergency settings.
Keywords: electronic medical record; emergency room; healthcare utilization; migraine; opioid.
© 2021 American Headache Society.