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Opioid Use High in Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

by Dr. C.H. Weaver M.D. 11/2018

According to a study presented at the 2018 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Chicago patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who visited an emergency department for pain control were more likely to use opioids.

The data comes from the population-based Michigan Lupus Epidemiology & Surveillance study on 462 patients with SLE. The study found that half of the SLE patients were prescribed opioids, and the average duration of opioid use was 6 to 7 years. Opioid use was found to increase with pain levels and with an emergency department visit in the previous year.

The study authors concluded that pain management is SLE patients is sub-optimal, especially for individuals seeking care in an emergency department. In order to avoid opioid addiction newer pain medication options need to be developed and better follow up care is required to ensure individuals don't remain on these medications unnecessarily for prolonged periods of time.

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Lee J, Padda A, Marder W, et al. Opioid use among SLE patients and controls in the population-based Michigan Lupus Epidemiology & Surveillance (MILES) cohort. Presented at: ACR Annual Meeting; October 19-24, 2018; Chicago, IL. Abstract 2998.