Narcotic use and misuse in crohn's disease

Justin A. Crocker, Huimin Yu, Mark Conaway, Anne G. Tuskey, Brian W. Behm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The rate of narcotic misuse in the inflammatory bowel disease population is not well studied. The primary aim of this study was to determine in Crohn's disease (CD) whether a concurrent functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID) was associated with increased rates of chronic narcotic use. Second, we aimed to identify potential risk factors for narcotic misuse. Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients with CD followed at the University of Virginia's Gastroenterology Clinic from 2006 to 2011 was performed. The prescription monitoring program was accessed to confirm narcotic prescription filling histories. Narcotic misuse was defined as narcotic prescriptions filled from 4 or more prescribers and at 4 or more different pharmacies. Results: Nine hundred thirty-one patients with CD were included in the study cohort. Eighty-seven (9.3%) patients were identified as having a concurrent FGID, and 192 (20%) were taking chronic narcotics. Patients with FGID were more likely to be taking chronic narcotics (44% versus 18%, P , 0.001). Thirty-seven percent (32/87) of patients with an FGID were misusing narcotics, compared with 9.6% (81/844) (P , 0.0001). Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated a significant association of misuse in patients with a concurrent FGID (odds ratio = 3.33, 95% confidence interval, 1.87-5.93). Conclusions: Twenty percent of patients with CD were using chronic narcotics with higher rates in those with FGID. Using the prescription monitoring program, a significant proportion of patients with CD with an FGID were misusing narcotics. We would recommend screening for narcotic misuse in patients with CD with a concomitant FGID and consider using prescription monitoring programs to identify others at risk for misuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2234-2238
Number of pages5
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Crohn's disease
  • Functional GI disorders
  • Prescription narcotics.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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