Review of Neurologic Comorbidities in Hospitalized Patients With Opioid Abuse

Purpose of Review

To determine the prevalence and burden of neurologic comorbidities in hospitalized patients with opioid abuse.

Recent Findings

From 1 year of hospital discharges, 2,182 patients with opioid abuse were identified (prevalence 6.3%), with abuse greater among younger patients (p < 0.0001), women (p < 0.0001), Whites (p < 0.0001), and urban population (p = 0.028). Matching for age, sex, race, and urban-rural residence, 347 patients were reviewed, and 179 (52%) had a neurologic comorbidity. The comorbidities frequently overlapped and included encephalopathy (130), neuromuscular disorders (42), seizures (23), spine disorders (23), strokes (20), CNS infections (3), and movement disorders (2). Abuse patients with neurologic comorbidities experienced substantially greater number of hospital and intensive care unit days and mortality, independent of overdose.


Neurologic comorbidities are a frequent and heretofore underappreciated contributor to the disease burden of hospitalized patients with opioid abuse. The importance of neurologic comorbidities should be included in the public health discussions surrounding the opioid epidemic.

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