Cohort Description: Preventing an Opioid Epidemic in Norway – Focusing on Treatment of Chronic Pain (POINT) – A National Registry-Based Study

Aleksi Hamina, Ingvild Odsbu, Petter Christian Borchgrevink, Li-Chia Chen, Thomas Mandel Clausen, Ketil Arne Espnes, Kine Gjesdal, Marte Handal, Sirpa Hartikainen, Vidar Hjellvik, Marianne Therese Smogeli Holter, Trond Høibø, Geana Paula Kurita, Harald Christian Langaas, Torgeir Gilje Lid, Torunn Hatlen Nøst, Per Sjøgren, Svetlana Skurtveit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: The POINT project aims to provide evidence to optimise chronic pain management, prevent adverse consequences of opioids, and improve chronic pain patients’ pain relief, functional capacity, and quality of life. We describe the outline of the project and its work packages. More specifically, we describe a cohort of persons with chronic pain and a cohort of long-term opioid users identified from a national registry linkage.
Data Sources: The project utilises data from nationwide healthcare and population registers in Norway. Using the Norwegian Prescription Database, we identified a cohort of persons who have been dispensed drugs reimbursed for chronic pain and a cohort of persons who used opioids long term from 2010 to 2019. Data from the Norwegian Registry for Primary Health Care and the Norwegian Patient Registry (2008– 2019), Cancer Registry (1990– 2018) Cause of Death Registry (2010– 2019) and demographic and socioeconomic registers from Statistics Norway (2010– 2019) were linked to the cohorts.
Study Population: There were 568,869 participants with chronic pain. Sixty-three percent of the cohort was women, and the mean age was 57.1 years. There were 336,712 long-term opioid users (58.6% women; 60.9 years). In chronic pain and long-term opioid user cohorts, the most frequent musculoskeletal diagnosis was back pain diagnosed in primary care (27.6% and 30.7%). Psychiatric diagnoses were also common.
Main Variables: Upcoming studies will utilise psychiatric and somatic diagnoses from the patient registers, drug use from the prescription register, causes of death, demographics, and socioeconomic status (eg, education, income, workability, immigrant status) as exposures or outcomes.
Conclusion and Future Plans: The two cohorts have numerous pain-related diagnoses, especially in the musculoskeletal system, and noticeably frequent somatic and psychiatric morbidity. The POINT project also includes later work packages that explore prescriber and patient perspectives around safe and effective treatment of chronic pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1477-1486
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2022


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