The researchers analysed data from a national survey of alcohol and substances used by more than 34,000 adults in two parts, three years apart.
At each point, they examined pain prescription opioid use disorders and other variables such as age, gender, anxiety or mood disorders and family history of drug, alcohol and behavioural problems.
“These findings indicate that adults who report moderate or more severe pain are at increased risk of becoming addicted to prescription opioids,” said Mark Olfson, Professor, Columbia University Medical Center in the US.
Participants who reported pain with prescription opioid use disorders were more to report on other variables like mood or anxiety disorders or have a family history of alcohol use disorder.
“In evaluating patients with pain, physicians should also be attentive to addiction risk factors such as age, sex and personal or family history of drug abuse,” added Olfson in the study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
If opioids are prescribed, it is important for clinicians to monitor their patients carefully for warning signs of opioid addiction, suggested the study.