Opioid use in children with inflammatory bowel disease-related arthritis

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2023 Jul;41(7):1553-1560. doi: 10.55563/clinexprheumatol/3bu1sf. Epub 2023 Apr 6.


Objectives: Concomitant arthritis may increase risk of chronic opioid use in youngsters with IBD. We aimed to assess trends and clinical features associated with opioid use in children with IBD-related arthritis.

Methods: Adolescents under 18 years of age with IBD-related arthritis, at least 1 year of continuous enrolment, and at least 1 pharmacy claim in the Truven Health MarketScan Claims and Encounter Database were included. Subjects were identified using previously validated algorithms consisting of ICD codes, pharmacy claims and procedure codes. The primary outcome was chronic opioid exposure. Temporal trends in opioid exposure were tested using the Cuzick-Wilcoxon test. The association of chronic opioid use and baseline covariates in the IBD and IBD-arthritis cohorts were examined using multivariable logistic regression models.

Results: 14,943 adolescents with IBD, 480 of whom had arthritis, were included. Chronic opioid use was non-trivial in youngsters with IBD-related arthritis, higher than that of total IBD cohort (12.3% vs. 5%) and remained stable over the years of study. Using multivariable regression, joint pain and arthritis were significantly associated with chronic opioid exposure in young people with IBD. Among IBD-related arthritis patients older age, public insurance, gastrointestinal surgery, hospitalisation and psychiatric comorbidities were significantly associated with chronic opioid use.

Conclusions: Chronic opioid use in adolescents with IBD-related arthritis was higher than that of total IBD cohort but stable over the years of study. Future study is needed to explore ways to optimise non-narcotic pain management strategies and ensuring appropriate use of opioids when necessary.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Arthritis* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / complications
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Analgesics, Opioid