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Quinlan TAG, Roberts AW, Frank JW, Whittington MD. Health costs of women with chronic overlapping pain conditions by opioid and complementary and integrative health use. Health services research. 2021 Dec 1; 56(6):1233-1244.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate differences in average annual health care expenditures of adult women with chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPCs) by pain treatment modality as follows: (1) no long-term opioid or complementary and integrative health (CIH) use; (2) CIH only use; (3) long-term opioid only use; and (4) long-term opioid and CIH use. DATA SOURCE: Cross-sectional Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data (2012-2016). STUDY DESIGN: We estimated differences between average annual expenditures of adult women with COPCs by their use of long-term opioids and CIH modalities. Generalized linear regression with a log link function was used to estimate adjusted marginal effects in annual expenditures. The distribution family was chosen based on Modified Park Tests. We controlled for pain severity, patient demographic characteristics, physical limitations, comorbidities, mental health, insurance status, physical therapy use, and census region. We also employed propensity-score based marginal mean weighting through stratification to balance our treatment groups on observed covariates. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: We identified adult women ( > 17?years) with one or more self-reported COPC using 3-digit International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9/10-Clinical Modification (CM) codes (N = 9169) and categorized their use of CIH and long-term opioids. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Compared to women without long-term opioid or CIH use, CIH only use was significantly associated with lower inpatient expenditures (-$947 [-$1699, -$196]; p-value? < 0.01), higher office-based expenditures ($1345 [$944, $1746]; p-value? < 0.001), and higher patient out-of-pocket expenditures ($628 [$409, $848]; p-value? < 0.001). Long-term opioid use, alone or in combination with CIH, was significantly associated with higher expenditures (p-value? < 0.05) in total and across all utilization categories compared to women without any long-term opioid or CIH use. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that CIH treatment approaches for chronic pain have the potential to be utilized without increasing overall costs. Future research should further examine the role of CIH modalities in achieving cost-effective pain management that reduces avoidable opioid use.