Medical Cannabis Use Reduces Opioid Prescriptions in Patients with Osteoarthritis

AUTHORS

  1. Bryan Renslo, BS

  2. Ari Greis, DO

  3. Asif M. Ilyas, MD, MBA

ABSTRACT

Background



Osteoarthritis (OA) can result in significant pain often requiring pain management with opioids. Medical cannabis (MC) has potential as being an alternative to opioids for chronic pain conditions. However, the efficacy of MC for OA related chronic pain remains unclear. The study hypothesis was that MC used in the management of OA related chronic pain can reduce opioid utilization.

Methods



Data regarding filled opioid prescriptions was gathered from a state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) system for patients with a diagnosis of OA who were certified for MC between February 2018 through July 2019. Average morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per day of opioid prescriptions filled within the six months prior to access to MC was compared to that of the six months after. Pain and global health scores were measured at baseline and at 3- and 6-months post MC certification.

Results



There was a significant decrease in average MME/day of prescriptions filled by patients following MC access from 18.2 to 9.8 (n=40, p<0.05). The average drop in MME/day was 46.3%. The percentage of patients who dropped to 0 MME/day was 37.5%. Pain score decreased significantly from 6.6 (n=36) to 5.0 (n=26, p<0.01) and 5.4 (n=16, p<0.05) at 3- and 6-months, respectively. Global Physical Health score increased significantly from 37.5 to 41.4 (p<0.05) by 3-months.

Conclusion



Access to MC reduced opioid prescriptions for patients with chronic pain from OA. Over one third of patients no longer required opioids after MC certification. Pain and QOL scores improved following MC certification.

RESEARCH ABSTRACT PRESENTED at the 2021 ANNUAL MEETING of the:



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