Treatment With Opioids Is Not Associated With Poor Outcomes Among Older Adults With Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Receiving Epidural Injections

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2023 Apr 1;48(7):445-451. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000004558. Epub 2022 Dec 5.


Study design: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial.

Objective: To assess how baseline treatment with opioids is associated with pain and function in older adults with lumbar spinal stenosis who receive epidural injections.

Summary of background data: Data were obtained from the Lumbar Epidural Steroid injections for Spinal Stenosis trial, a double-blind, multisite, randomized controlled trial.

Methods: Baseline treatment with opioids was assessed from electronic medical record prescription pharmacy data or from health utilization records collected from patients. We calculated adjusted changes in back pain numerical rating scale, leg pain numerical rating scale, and back-related disability (Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire scores) from baseline to three weeks and to six weeks among patients treated and not treated with opioids at baseline using generalized linear regression.

Results: Baseline treatment with opioids was not significantly associated with back pain intensity (adjusted difference in means at three weeks of follow-up between patients treated with opioids at baseline versus not [±95% CI, 0.1 (-0.7, 0.7)], leg pain intensity [-0.2 (-0.9, 0.4)], or back-related function [-0.8 (-2.1, 0.4)]. We found similar results at six weeks of follow-up.

Conclusions: Among older adults with lumbar spinal stenosis who are receiving epidural injections, those treated with opioids at baseline had similar outcomes to those who were not.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Back Pain / complications
  • Back Pain / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Injections, Epidural
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Spinal Stenosis* / complications
  • Spinal Stenosis* / drug therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Lidocaine
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Analgesics, Opioid