The first 24h: opioid administration in people with spinal cord injury and neurologic recovery. Academic Article uri icon


  • STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to characterize opioid administration in people with acute SCI and examine the association between opioid dose and (1) changes in motor/functional scores from hospital to rehabilitation discharge, and (2) pain, depression, and quality of life (QOL) scores 1-year post injury. SETTING: Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SCIMS) inpatient acute rehabilitation facility. METHODS: Patients included in the SCIMS from 2008 to 2011 were linked to the National Trauma Registry and the electronic medical record. Three opioid dose groups (low, medium, and high) were defined based on the total morphine equivalence in milligrams at 24h. The associations between opioid dose groups and functional/motor outcomes were assessed, as well as 1-year follow-up pain and QOL surveys. RESULTS: In all, 85/180 patients had complete medication records. By 24h, all patients had received opioids. Patients receiving higher amounts of opioids had higher pain scores 1 year later compared with medium- and low-dose groups (pain levels 5.5 vs. 4 vs. 1, respectively, p=0.018). There was also an 8 greater risk of depression 1 year later in the high-dose group compared with the low-dose group (OR: 8.1, 95% CI: 1.2-53.7). In analyses of motor scores, we did not find a significant interaction between opioid dose and duration of injury. CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary findings suggest that higher doses of opioids administered within 24h of injury are associated with increased pain in the chronic phase of people with SCI.

published proceedings

  • Spinal Cord

altmetric score

  • 27.3

author list (cited authors)

  • Stampas, A., Pedroza, C., Bush, J. N., Ferguson, A. R., Kramer, J., & Hook, M.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Stampas, Argyrios||Pedroza, Claudia||Bush, Jennifer N||Ferguson, Adam R||Kramer, John L Kipling||Hook, Michelle

publication date

  • January 2020