The repeated use of prescription opioids may lead to serious side effects. It is therefore important to examine factors associated with such repeated use. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the maternal use of prescription opioids and their use by offspring of these mothers.
Data were extracted from two nationwide registers linked by unique personal identity numbers: the 2001 Norwegian Population and Housing Census and the Norwegian Prescription Database 2004-2009. The study population consisted of 97,574 adolescents aged 15-16 years in 2001 and their mothers. The repeated use of opioids was defined as the issuing of >4 and >15 prescriptions to an adolescent and his/her mother, respectively, during the period 2004-2009. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are not potentially addictive, and individuals issued prescriptions for NSAIDs were used as the reference analgesic drug group.
The proportion of repeated prescription opioid users was higher among adolescents whose mother was registered as a repeated user of prescription opioids (8.4 %) than among those whose mother did not repeatedly use prescription opioids (2.4 %). The odds ratio (OR) was 3.1 [95 % confidence interval (CI) 2.7-3.6] when adjusted for the mother's socioeconomic characteristics and the gender of the offspring. A lower socioeconomic position of the mother increased the risk of repeated opioid use by her offspring. Maternal repeated use of NSAIDs was associated with repeated use of NSAIDs among offspring (OR 1.8, 95 % CI 1.7-2.0).
Among our study population, the maternal use of opioids was associated with the repeated use of prescription opioids among the respective offspring. The same association was seen with NSAIDs, but to a lesser extent.