Examining the relationship between head trauma and opioid use disorder: A systematic review


  • Ali Abid, BA https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5786-4051
  • Maria Paracha
  • Iva Çepele, BA
  • Awais Paracha, MD
  • Joseph Rueve, BS
  • Akbar Fidahussain, BS
  • Humza Rehman
  • McKimmon Engelhardt, BS
  • Noor Alyasiry, BS
  • Zohair Siddiqui, MD
  • Satvik Vasireddy, BS
  • Bishal Kadariya, BA
  • Nikith Rao, BS
  • Rohan Das
  • Wilson Rodriguez, MD
  • Dixie Meyer, PhD




opioid misuse, opioid, opioid use disorder, traumatic brain injury, head trauma


Objective: To examine recent literature and determine common clinical risk factors between antecedent traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the following development of opioid misuse and provide a framework for clinical identification of at-risk subjects and evaluate potential treatment implications within this association.

Design: A comprehensive systematic literature search of PubMed was conducted for articles between 2000 and December 2022. Studies were included if the human participant had any head trauma exposure and any chronic opioid use or dependence. After eligibility criteria were applied, 16 studies were assessed for thematic trends.

Results: Opioid use disorder (OUD) risks are heightened in cohorts with head trauma exposed to opioids while in the hospital, specifically with tramadol and oxycodone. Chronic pain was the most common predictor of long-term OUD, and continuous somatic symptoms associated with the TBI can lead to long-term opioid usage. Individuals who present with coexisting psychiatric conditions pose significantly more risk associated with a higher risk of long-term opioid use.

Conclusion: Findings indicate that therapists and clinicians must consider a risk profile for persons with TBI and follow an integrated care approach to account for mental health, prior substance misuse, presenting somatic symptoms, and current medication regimen during evaluation.

Author Biographies

Ali Abid, BA

Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

Maria Paracha

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Iva Çepele, BA

Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

Awais Paracha, MD

Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Joseph Rueve, BS

Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

Akbar Fidahussain, BS

Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

Humza Rehman

Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

McKimmon Engelhardt, BS

Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Chicago, Illinois

Noor Alyasiry, BS

Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

Zohair Siddiqui, MD

Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Satvik Vasireddy, BS

Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine, Henderson, Nevada

Bishal Kadariya, BA

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, Virginia

Nikith Rao, BS

Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Chicago, Illinois

Rohan Das

Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Wilson Rodriguez, MD

Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Dixie Meyer, PhD

Department of Family and Community Medicine, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri


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How to Cite

Abid, A., M. Paracha, I. Çepele, A. Paracha, J. Rueve, A. Fidahussain, H. Rehman, M. Engelhardt, N. Alyasiry, Z. Siddiqui, S. Vasireddy, B. Kadariya, N. Rao, R. Das, W. Rodriguez, and D. Meyer. “Examining the Relationship Between Head Trauma and Opioid Use Disorder: A Systematic Review”. Journal of Opioid Management, vol. 20, no. 1, Feb. 2024, pp. 63-76, doi:10.5055/jom.0846.



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