Statlog - Quantifying the real-world use of pain medication


Quantifying the real-world use of pain medication


  • Widespread misuse of pain medication and the ensuing opioid epidemic in the U.S. has led to public health concerns.
  • Despite its huge impact, pain is an under-recognized symptom in patients with skin diseases.
  • To understand the pain burden of skin diseases, a pharmaceutical company sought to characterize and compare the real-world use of pain medication between patients with skin diseases and a control group.

Our approach

  • We performed an observational retrospective cohort study using administrative healthcare claims from insurers in the U.S.
  • We matched patients having skin diseases with demographically identical control subjects without skin diseases.
  • We then conducted time-to-event regression analyses to quantify the likelihood of pain medication use.
  • Given the complex etiology of pain, we used high-dimensional propensity scores to adjust the regression models for patient clinical characteristics.

Our results

Patients with skin diseases were more likely to use pain medication, particularly opioids, than subjects in the control group.

By quantifying the real-world use of pain medication in patients with skin diseases, we gave our client the evidence they needed to take action and raise awareness about the unique unmet treatment needs in this patient population and help prevent possible addiction.