Dynamic risk factors in the misuse of opioid analgesics

Joseph V. Pergolizzi, Christopher Gharibo, Steven Passik, Sumedha Labhsetwar, Robert Taylor, Jason S. Pergolizzi, Gerhard Müller-Schwefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Objective: Identify the risk factors for prescription opioid misuse among patients taking prescription opioids to deal with chronic pain. Methods: We examined the literature for a variety of dynamic risk factors associated with opioid misuse among the chronic pain population in order to present a narrative review. Considered were: taking single or multiple opioids, pain intensity, mental health disorders, including a history of preadolescent sexual abuse, personal and familial history of substance abuse, a history of legal problems, being a crime victim, drug-seeking behaviors, drug craving, and age. Results: A variety of risk factors have been studied in the literature. Risk factors in chronic opioid therapy patients are dynamic in that they can change with disease progression, tolerance, changes in pain quality, mental health, comorbidities, other drug therapies or drug interactions, and changes in the patient's lifestyle. Conclusion: Opioid analgesic therapy must be tailored to carefully monitor all patients in order to minimize misuse and abuse, since the risk is constant and dynamic and therefore every patient is at some degree of risk for opioid misuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-451
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Chronic opioid therapy
  • Nonmedical use of opioids
  • Opioid abuse
  • Opioid misuse
  • Risk factors for opioid misuse
  • Risk stratification for opioid misuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamic risk factors in the misuse of opioid analgesics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this