A Risk Prediction Model for Long-term Prescription Opioid Use

Iraklis E. Tseregounis, Daniel J. Tancredi, Susan L Stewart, Aaron B. Shev, Andrew Crawford, James J. Gasper, Garen Wintemute, Brandon D.L. Marshall, Magdalena Cerdá, Stephen G Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tools are needed to aid clinicians in estimating their patients' risk of transitioning to long-term opioid use and to inform prescribing decisions. Objective: The objective of this study was to develop and validate a model that predicts previously opioid-naive patients' risk of transitioning to long-term use. Research Design: This was a statewide population-based prognostic study. Subjects: Opioid-naive (no prescriptions in previous 2 y) patients aged 12 years old and above who received a pill-form opioid analgesic in 2016-2018 and whose prescriptions were registered in the California Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Measures: A multiple logistic regression approach was used to construct a prediction model with long-term (ie, >90 d) opioid use as the outcome. Models were developed using 2016-2017 data and validated using 2018 data. Discrimination (c-statistic), calibration (calibration slope, intercept, and visual inspection of calibration plots), and clinical utility (decision curve analysis) were evaluated to assess performance. Results: Development and validation cohorts included 7,175,885 and 2,788,837 opioid-naive patients with outcome rates of 5.0% and 4.7%, respectively. The model showed high discrimination (c-statistic: 0.904 for development, 0.913 for validation), was well-calibrated after intercept adjustment (intercept, -0.006; 95% confidence interval, -0.016 to 0.004; slope, 1.049; 95% confidence interval, 1.045-1.053), and had a net benefit over a wide range of probability thresholds. Conclusions: A model for the transition from opioid-naive status to long-term use had high discrimination and was well-calibrated. Given its high predictive performance, this model shows promise for future integration into PDMPs to aid clinicians in formulating opioid prescribing decisions at the point of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMedical care
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • dose trajectory
  • long-term opioid use
  • opioid analgesic
  • opioid-naive
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
  • risk prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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