Article Text

Download PDFPDF
New, long-term opioid use after lung cancer surgery is associated with reduced 2-year survival: a retrospective population-based cohort study in South Korea
  1. Tak Kyu Oh,
  2. Hyeong Geun Kim and
  3. In-Ae Song
  1. Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea
  1. Correspondence to Dr In-Ae Song, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea (the Republic of); songoficu{at}


Introduction We aimed to investigate the proportion and associated factors for new long-term opioid use and its long-term effects after lung cancer surgery.

Methods The South Korean National Health Insurance Database was used as a nationwide registration data source. All patients undergoing lung cancer surgery between 2011 and 2018 were included, and patients who were preoperative opioid users were excluded from the analysis. New long-term opioid use was defined as an active opioid prescription at 6 months postoperatively.

Results In total, 54 509 patients were included in the final analysis. At 6 months postoperatively, 3325 (6.1%) patients who were newly prescribed opioids comprised the new long-term opioid user group. Older age, male sex, wider surgical extent, open thoracotomy, increased Charlson Comorbidity Index score, neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy, preoperative anxiety disorder and insomnia disorder were associated with a higher rate of new long-term opioid use. The new long-term opioid user group showed a 40% (HR, 1.40; 95% CI 1.29 to 1.53; p<0.001) higher risk of 2-year all-cause mortality. Moreover, the new long-term potent opioid user and less potent opioid user groups showed a 92% (HR, 1.92; 95% CI 1.67 to 2.21; p<0.001) and 22% (HR, 1.22; 95% CI 1.10 to 1.36; p<0.001) higher risk of 2-year all-cause mortality, respectively.

Conclusions Among preoperative opioid-naive patients in South Korea, 6.1% became new long-term opioid users after lung cancer surgery. Certain factors are potential risk factors for new long-term opioid use, which could be associated with poorer long-term survival outcomes.

  • analgesia
  • analgesics, opioid
  • opioid-related disorders
  • pain, postoperative

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request to the corresponding author.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request to the corresponding author.

View Full Text


  • Contributors Study concept and design: TKO and I-AS; data collection: HGK; manuscript preparation: TKO; manuscript editing, review and approval: all authors. I-AS is a guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

Linked Articles