Beneficial opioid management strategies: A review of the evidence for the use of opioid treatment agreements

Tuesday M. McAuliffe Staehler, Laura C. Palombi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) guidelines recommend opioid treatment agreements to reduce the misuse and abuse of opioids, but evidence of their effectiveness has not been well-established. This controversy has led to their varied use in primary care settings. The purpose of this review is to collect studies that assess the value of opioid treatment agreements and associated opioid misuse outcomes in patients with chronic non-cancer pain. Methods: This study used a modified preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) approach which is organized by five distinct elements or steps: beginning with a clearly formulated question, using the question to develop clear inclusion criteria to identify relevant studies, using an approach to appraise the studies or a subset of the studies, summarizing the evidence using an explicit methodology, and interpreting the findings of the review. Results: Of 283 articles identified, six eligible studies were evaluated and assessed for quality. The study design, setting, and participants varied across the studies evaluated, and the methods of measuring primary and secondary outcomes were also diverse across all studies. One study was a randomized clinical trial (RCT), four studies were retrospective cohort studies (RCS), and one study was a prospective cohort study (PCS). The design, methods, and indication for misuse of these studies contributed to quality scores of very low for one study, low for four studies, and moderate for one study. Conclusion: This systematic review shows weak evidence to support the effectiveness of patient prescriber agreements in the reduction and mitigation of opioid misuse and abuse. Further research is needed to determine if these agreements are beneficial as an opioid management strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-215
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • Opioid
  • agreement
  • chronic pain
  • contract
  • evidence
  • non-cancer pain
  • review

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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