Prescription opioid use was strongly associated with an increased risk for laboratory-confirmed pneumonia, meningitis, and other invasive pneumococcal diseases, with the most robust associations seen in users of long-acting, high-potency opioid pain relievers, researchers reported.

In a retrospective cohort study of enrollees in TennCare — Tennessee’s Medicaid program — those with IPD had a 62% greater odds of being current opioid users compared with controls without confirmed IPD, according to Andrew Wiese, PhD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville, and colleagues.

These findings, along with earlier research also showing opioid use to be a risk factor for pneumococcal infection, have implications for healthcare providers and their patients, they wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.