Whilst opioid prescribing for non-cancer pain has risen in the U.S. and Canada, trends over time and factors associated with long-term use have been less clear in the UK. Researchers at the University of Manchester evaluated ~2 million opioid users in the UK and identified regional, practice, prescriber-related and individual patient factors associated with long-term opioid use.
Prescriptions for the addictive drug codeine jumped by a factor of five between 2006 and 2017. Other opioid drugs such as tramadol and oxycodone were used less commonly, but had even steeper rises during this time frame. Additionally, one in seven of all new opioid users became long-term users within the first year.
Covered by >180 media outlets