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Clin Transplant. 2014 Sep;28(9):1041-6. doi: 10.1111/ctr.12414.

Chronic opioid analgesic usage post-kidney transplantation and clinical outcomes.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Chronic opioid usage (COU) is common among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) qualified for kidney transplantation and associated with inferior post-transplant outcomes. The magnitude of COU after kidney transplantation and its impact on transplant outcomes remain unknown. We performed a single-center retrospective study aimed to describe the prevalence of COU during the first year, to identify the predictors of COU and to determine the impact of COU on post-transplant outcomes including the rates of hospitalization and acute rejection during the first year, as well as long-term patient and graft survival. Among 1045 kidney transplant patients, 119 (11.4%) had required continued outpatient prescription of opioid analgesics during the first year after kidney transplantation, mostly for non-surgery-related pain (85%). A positive history of COU prior to transplantation was the strongest predictor of COU in the first year post-transplantation (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 4.31, p < 0.001). Patients with COU had more often hospital admission during the first year (AOR 2.48, p = 0.001, for 1 or 2 admissions, and AOR 6.03, p < 0.001 for ≥3 admissions), but similar rate of acute rejection (19.3% vs. 15.7%, p = 0.31). During long-term follow-up, however, the patient and/or death-censored kidney survival was not different. COU early post-kidney transplantation, when clinically indicated and properly supervised, does not appear to affect the risk of death and death-censored graft failure.


kidney transplant; opioid; outcomes; pain

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