Assessment of Work Loss Associated With Prescription-Related Opioid Use Disorder: A Retrospective Analysis of Claims Data

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2020


Quantify work loss and costs associated with prescription opioid use disorder (OUD) from the employer perspective.


Retrospective claims analysis to compare missed work days and associated costs between employees with and without an OUD diagnosis in a 12-month period.


Two thousand three hundred eleven matched-pairs of employees were compared. The mean (SD) number of days missed while waiting for disability benefits (0.24 [1.4] vs 0.17 [1.0]; P = 0.035), absenteeism due to disability claims (9.5 [40.9] vs 5.6 [30.0]; P < 0.001), and medical visits (17.8 [18.5] vs 10.0 [12.4]; P < 0.001) was higher for employees with OUD compared with those without, resulting in higher mean (SD) indirect cost estimates of $8193 ($14,694) per employee (OUD) versus $5438 ($13,683) per employee (no OUD) (P < 0.001).


Prescription OUD is associated with significant work loss and may pose considerable economic burden on employers.

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White AG, Spittle T, Fernan C, Billmyer E, Marrett E,  Kwong WJ, Rossiter LF