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Subst Abuse Rehabil. 2015 Aug 19;6:83-91. doi: 10.2147/SAR.S85667. eCollection 2015.

Opioid-use disorder among patients on long-term opioid therapy: impact of final DSM-5 diagnostic criteria on prevalence and correlates.

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Center for Health Research, Geisinger Clinic, Danville, PA, USA.
Department of Pain Medicine, Geisinger Clinic, Danville, PA, USA.



Previously, we estimated the prevalence and risk factors for prescription opioid-use disorder among outpatients on opioid therapy using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-5 and DSM-4 criteria. However, at the time, the DSM-5 criteria were not finalized. In the current study, we analyzed these data using the final DSM-5 criteria and compared these results.


Using electronic records from a large US health care system, we identified outpatients receiving five or more prescription orders for opioid therapy in the past 12 months for noncancer pain (mean prescription orders =10.72; standard deviation =4.96). In 2008, we completed diagnostic interviews with 705 of these patients using the DSM-4 criteria. In the current study, we reassessed these results using the final DSM-5 criteria.


The lifetime prevalence of DSM-5 opioid-use disorders using the final DSM-5 criteria was 58.7% for no or few symptoms (<2), 28.1% for mild symptoms (2-3), 9.7% for moderate symptoms (4-5), and 3.5% for severe symptoms (six or more). Thus, the lifetime prevalence of "any" prescription opioid-use disorder in this cohort was 41.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] =37.6-45.0). A comparison to the DSM-4 criteria indicated that the majority of patients with lifetime DSM-4 opioid dependence were now classified as having mild opioid-use disorder, based on the DSM-5 criteria (53.6%; 95% CI =44.1-62.8). In ordinal logistic regression predicting no/few, mild, moderate, and severe opioid-use disorder, the best predictors were age <65 years, current pain impairment, trouble sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety disorders, illicit drug use, and history of substance abuse treatment.


Given the final DSM-5 criteria, including the elimination of tolerance and withdrawal, inclusion of craving and abuse symptoms, and introduction of a new graded severity classification, the prevalence of opioid-use disorders has changed, while many of the DSM-4 risk factors for opioid dependence were similar. To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to compare the final results for DSM-5 versus DSM-4 prescription opioid-use disorders among a high-risk patient population.


DSM-5; drug-use disorders; opioids; outpatients; pain; prescription drugs

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