Incidence of Long-term Opioid Use Among Opioid-Naive Patients With Hidradenitis Suppurativa in the United States.

Publication Date


Journal Title

JAMA Dermatol


Importance: Risk of long-term opioid use among patients with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), who experience pain that substantially impairs quality of life, is unknown to date.

Objective: To compare overall and subgroup incidence of long-term opioid use in a population of opioid-naive patients with HS and control patients.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study was based on a demographically heterogeneous population-based sample of more than 56 million unique patients from January 1, 2008, through December 10, 2018. Patients with HS (n = 22 277) and controls (n = 828 832) were identified using electronic health records data. Data were analyzed from December 13, 2018, through January 28, 2019.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was incident long-term opioid use.

Results: Among the 22 277 patients with HS, mean (SD) age was 40.8 (14.6) years, 16 912 (75.9%) were women, and 13 190 (59.2%) were white. Crude 1-year incidence of long-term opioid use among opioid-naive patients with HS was 0.33% (74 of 22 277), compared with 0.14% (1168 of 828 832) among controls (P < .001). In adjusted analysis, patients with HS had 1.53 (95% CI, 1.20-1.95; P < .001) times the odds of new long-term opioid use compared with controls. Among patients with HS, advancing age (odds ratio [OR], 1.02 per 1-year increase; 95% CI, 1.00-1.03; P = .05), ever smoking (OR, 3.64; 95% CI, 2.06-6.41; P < .001), history of depression (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.21-3.19; P = .006), and baseline Charlson comorbidity index score (OR, 1.15 per 1-point increase; 95% CI, 1.03-1.29; P = .01) were associated with higher odds of long-term opioid use. Among patients with HS and long-term opioid use, 4 of 74 (5.4%) were diagnosed with opioid use disorder during the study period. The most frequent schedule II opioid prescriptions included oxycodone hydrochloride (55 of 74 patients [74.3%]), hydrocodone bitartrate (44 [59.5%]), hydromorphone hydrochloride (16 [21.6%]), morphine sulfate (13 [17.6%]), and fentanyl citrate (6 [8.1%]). Tramadol hydrochloride (32 [43.2%]) represented the most frequent non-schedule II prescription. Disciplines prescribing the most opioids to patients with HS included primary care (398 [72.8%]), anesthesiology/pain management (48 [8.8%]), gastroenterology (25 [4.6%]), surgery (23 [4.2%]), and emergency medicine (10 [1.8%]).

Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, patients with HS were at higher risk for long-term opioid use. These results suggest that periodic assessment of pain and screening for long-term opioid use may be warranted, particularly among patients who are older, who smoke tobacco, or who have depression and other medical comorbidities.

Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department






For the public and Northwell Health campuses