The following article is a part of conference coverage from the 2019 American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Professionals (ACR/ARP) Annual Meeting, being held in Atlanta, Georgia. The team at MPR will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in rheumatology. Check back for more from the 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting.

ATLANTA — Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are at a higher risk for an opioid overdose-related hospitalization compared with the general population, according to research results presented at the 2019 American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Professionals (ACR/ARP) Annual Meeting, held November 8 to 13, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Researchers sought to assess the rates of opioid-overdose related hospitalizations in patients with SLE and RA compared with the general population. Data were collected from the National Inpatient Sample, which provides annual estimates of >35 million hospitalizations across the United States. Opioid overdose-related hospital admissions with RA and SLE were based on the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification system. Chi-squared tests and Poisson regression were used for comparison and modeling, respectively.

The analysis included data from 33,207,455 hospitalizations in 2016; 512,740 (1.5%) of these included patients with RA and 147,480 (0.44%) with SLE. Patients with RA or SLE had a higher percentage of hospitalizations with a primary cause of opioid overdose compared with patients with neither condition (0.23% and 0.34% vs 0.17%; P <.01). When including all diagnoses of opioid overdose, the proportions of hospitalizations increased for groups with RA, SLE, and the general population (1.46%, 1.50%, and 0.85%, respectively).

After accounting for demographic characteristics and socioeconomic status, both RA and SLE were associated with higher relative risks for opioid overdose-related hospitalizations compared with patients with neither condition. Compared with patients with RA, those with SLE was associated with a higher relative risk for opioid overdose hospitalization.

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“RA and SLE were associated with a 1.5 to 2-fold higher risk [for] opioid overdose hospitalization compared [with] the general population,” the researchers concluded. “Local and national overdose intervention programs should consider targeting [patients with] RA and SLE as at potentially increased risk for opioid overdose.”

Disclosure: One study author declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

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Anastasiou C, Li J, Trupin L, Schmajuk G, Yazdany J. Opioid overdose hospitalizations in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Presented at: 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting; November 8-13, 2019; Atlanta, GA. Abstract 1100.

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor