In this population based cohort study of patients with chronic non-cancer pain on opioids, the total daily dose was linearly correlated with the risk of unintentional death (with about twice the odds of death in those with doses between 50mg-200mg equivalent of morphine, and with about three times the odds of death in those with doses>200mg/day). Patients at morphine equivalents of >50mg a day should be regularly followed, sign and adhere to pain contracts, and be counseled about the risk of unintentional death (abstract)
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.