Nearly half of patients who stop taking opioids for six months resume use later

A study by a team of Magellan researchers, demonstrating the pervasiveness of opioid addiction, was presented at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting, and was also the subject of an article by Clinical Psychiatry News.

The study, an analysis of medical and pharmacy data from 2009—2012 for 2.5 million people aged 20-64 who were part of a commercial health plan, showed that 48 percent of patients who had stopped using opioids for at least six months went on to use them again.

Dr. Shareh Ghani, vice president medical director at Magellan HealthcareDr. Shareh Ghani, vice president medical director at Magellan Healthcare, and lead author of the study spoke of the importance of fully understanding the scope of the addiction crisis: “Having worked in commercial and Medicaid markets, I have reviewed numerous cases of accidental overdose and suicides related to pain prescriptions. The opioid crisis in this country demands that we understand the issue and identify predictors of risk.”

Study co-author Gowri Shetty, vice president of analytics, underscored the importance of the work: “This study helped us understand the clinical characteristics associated with long-term and persistent opioid use and provided a better understanding of how to tailor interventions targeting those at increased risk of inappropriate opioid use.”

The opioid crisis remains a key area of research and development across Magellan Health. You can read the article by clicking here to visit the Clinical Psychiatry News website.

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