Opioid use disorder in adult burn patients: Implications for future mental health, behavioral and substance use patterns

Nikhil R. Shah, Rui Min D. Mao, Adrian A. Coleoglou Centeno, Elliot T. Walters, Steven E. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Burn patients continue to have a high opioid requirement, despite current national trends to decrease opioid prescribing. While effective, long-term opioid use results in opioid dependence and possibly other mental health comorbidities. This retrospective cohort study seeks to evaluate implications of diagnosed opioid use disorder in the development of subsequent psychiatric, behavioral and substance abuse patterns. Methods: The TriNetX database was queried for patients 18 years and older with a diagnosis of thermal or chemical burn who developed opioid use disorder after their burn injury. Two matched cohorts were studied, opioid use disorder versus non-opioid use disorder, to evaluate risk of developing subsequent mental health and behavioral conditions, use of psychiatric health services, and future substance abuse. Results: A total of 2020 patients were identified in each cohort, matched for demographics, external trauma, and burn size. Patients in the opioid use disorder group had a significantly higher incidence of mental health diagnoses (79.7 % versus 57.7 %, OR 1.973, CI 1.741–2.236, p < 0.0001), including major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This group was also more likely to utilize psychiatric services (16.0 % versus 10.3 %, OR 1.926, CI 1.595–2.326, p < 0.0001) and psychotherapy (12.6 % versus 7.2 %, OR 2.046, CI 1.650–2.536, p<0.0001). Furthermore, the opioid use disorder group had higher rates of polysubstance abuse (29.9 % versus 12.3 %, OR 3.048, CI 2.588–3.589, p<0.0001), suicidal / homicidal ideations (8.2 % versus 3.2 %, OR 3.057, CI 2.274–4.109, p<0.0001), and suicide attempts (2.0 % versus 0.7 %, OR 2.971, CI 1.611–5.478, p = 0.003). Conclusions: Burn patients who develop opioid use disorder have significantly higher rates of future psychiatric diagnoses, behavioral disturbances, and polysubstance abuse. A multidisciplinary team approach, including early involvement of pain and mental health services, could potentially reduce the development of opioid use disorder and its consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1078
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Burn
  • Mental health
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Pain
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Opioid use disorder in adult burn patients: Implications for future mental health, behavioral and substance use patterns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this