Doctors Gave No Medical Explanations For Nearly 30% Of Opioid Prescriptions
What the researchers discovered during a study of prescriptions made between 2006-2015 gives rise to questions about physicians' prescribing process and the impact on the opioid epidemic.
Nearly 30% Of All Opioid Prescriptions Lack Medical Explanation
How large a role do doctors play in the opioid crisis? Nearly 30% of all opioids prescribed in US clinics or doctors' offices lack a documented reason -- such as severe back pain -- to justify a script for these addictive drugs, new research finds. In total, opioids were prescribed in almost 809 million outpatient visits over a 10-year period, with 66.4% of these prescriptions intended to treat non-cancer pain and 5.1% for cancer-related pain, according to a study published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. (Scutti, 9/10)
Study: 28.5 Percent Of The Time Doctors Don’t Write Down Why They’re Prescribing Opioids
Inappropriate prescribing, bad recordkeeping, or a combination of both were possible reasons for the missing data, according to the researchers from Harvard Medical School and the RAND Corporation. “Whatever the reasons, lack of robust documentation undermines our efforts to understand physician prescribing patterns and curtails our ability to stem overprescribing,” the study’s author, Tisamarie Sherry, a Harvard Medical School instructor who is also a RAND policy researcher, said in a statement. (Finucane, 9/10)
Nearly 30 Percent Of Patients Prescribed Opioids Had No Recorded Pain Diagnoses
The research team did not make a conclusion that these prescriptions were inappropriate, said Tisamarie Sherry, an associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the letter’s lead author. There was not enough information to make that judgment, Sherry said. ...In many cases, physicians prescribed opioids without a clear understanding of how addictive those medications were. Greater awareness of this risk in recent years, along with a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program that flags doctor-shopping, has led to decreased opioid prescriptions. (Santhanam, 9/10)