Cambridge, MA – The Workers Compensation Research Institute recently released a complimentary research spotlight on select findings from its recent study, Interstate Variations in Dispensing of Opioids, 5th Edition.
Opioid dispensing to workers injured on the job has decreased substantially in recent years in all 27 state workers’ compensation systems studied, but increases in non-opioid pain medications did not fully offset these decreases. As a result, the percentage of workers’ compensation claims with pain medication decreased in each of the 27 study states.
However, workers continued to receive treatment for their pain for the most part. The WCRI study suggests that providers have switched from multi-pronged pain treatments, which involve pain medications (including opioids) and other restorative therapies, to a treatment protocol that more frequently relies solely on non-pharmacologic services.
This change in treatment patterns conforms to the recommendations of opioid prescribing and pain treatment guidelines and policies implemented in a number of states, which call for broad adoption of alternatives to opioids for treating acute and chronic pain. While this switch occurred, in some states, there were small net increases in the percentage of claims that received neither pain medications nor non-pharmacologic treatment.
Purchase the full report here: WCRI: Interstate Variations in Dispensing of Opioids, 5th Edition