Opioid prescribing practices in chronic kidney disease: a population-based cohort study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • ABSTRACT Background Chronic pain is common, and its management is complex in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), but limited data are available on opioid prescribing. We examined opioid prescribing for non-cancer and non-end-of-life care in patients with CKD. Methods This was a population-based retrospective cohort study using administrative databases in Ontario, Canada which included adults with CKD defined by an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 from 1 November 2012 to 31 December 2018 and estimated the proportion of opioid prescriptions (type, duration, dose, potentially inappropriate prescribing, etc.) within 1 year of cohort entry. Prescriptions had to precede dialysis, kidney transplant or death. Results We included 680 445 adults with CKD, and 198 063 (29.1%) were prescribed opioids. Codeine (14.9%) and hydromorphone (7.2%) were the most common opioids. Among opioid users, 24.3% had repeated or long-term use, 26.1% were prescribed high doses and 56.8% were new users. Opioid users were more likely to be female, had cardiac disease or a mental health diagnosis, and had more healthcare visits. The proportions for potentially inappropriate prescribing indicators varied (e.g. 50.1% with eGFR <30 were prescribed codeine, and 20.6% of opioid users were concurrently prescribed benzodiazepines, while 7.2% with eGFR <30 mL/min/1.73 m2 were prescribed morphine, and 7.0% were received more than one opioid concurrently). Opioid prescriptions declined with time (2013 cohort: 31.1% versus 2018 cohort: 24.5%; p <0.0001), as did indicators of potentially inappropriate prescribing. Conclusions Opioid use was common in patients with CKD. While opioid prescriptions and potentially inappropriate prescribing have declined in recent years, interventions to improve pain management without the use of opioids and education on safer prescribing practices are needed.


  • Molnar, Amber
  • Bota, Sarah E
  • Naylor, Kyla
  • Nash, Danielle M
  • Smith, Graham
  • Suri, Rita S
  • Sood, Manish M
  • Gomes, Tara
  • Garg, Amit

publication date

  • November 23, 2022