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Trends in Opoid Prescribing and Self Reported Pain

Tuesday, January 7, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Susan Stout
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Trends In Opioid Prescribing And Self-Reported Pain Among US Adults

As efforts to curb inappropriate opioid prescribing continue, an examination of trends in short-term and longer-term opioid prescriptions for US adults who self-report various pain levels.


Health Affairs:PUBLISHED: https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2019.00783

Clinically informed efforts to curb inappropriate opioid prescribing seek to reduce prescribing to adults with lower pain levels that are potentially manageable with alternative therapies. According to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the annual share of US adults who were prescribed opioids decreased from 12.9 percent in 2014 to 10.3 percent in 2016, and the decrease was concentrated among adults with shorter-term rather than longer-term prescriptions. The decrease was also larger for adults who reported moderate or more severe pain (from 32.8 percent to 25.5 percent) than for those who reported less-than-moderate pain (from 8.0 percent to 6.6 percent). In the same period opioids were prescribed to 3.75 million fewer adults reporting moderate or more severe pain and 2.20 million fewer adults reporting less-than-moderate pain. Because the decline in prescribing primarily involved adults who reported moderate or more severe pain, these trends raise questions about whether efforts to decrease opioid prescribing have successfully focused on adults who report less severe pain.