Opioid misuse risk factors differ between sexes

May 21, 2010

Men at risk for the misuse of prescription opioids taken for pain are more likely to have legal and behavioral problems, whereas women who misuse are more likely to have emotional or psychological issues, according to new research.

J Pain. 2010;11:312-320 [April 2010]

Men at risk for the misuse of prescription opioids taken for pain are more likely to have legal and behavioral problems, whereas women who misuse are more likely to have emotional or psychological issues, according to researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. To determine risk factors for misuse, researchers studied 275 male and 335 female patients who were prescribed opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. At five-month follow-up, an analysis of three drug-use questionnaires found that male patients were more likely to have behavioral and legal problems, whereas female patients tended to have higher scores on items related to psychological distress.