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Opioid prescribing patterns among medical providers in the United States, 2003-17: Retrospective, observational study

BMJ Feb 03, 2020

Kiang MV, et al. - Experts conducted a retrospective, observational study to investigate the distribution and patterns of opioid prescribing in the United States. Between 2003 and 2017, an annual average of 669,495 providers prescribing 8.9 million opioid prescriptions to 3.9 million patients in National private insurer covering all 50 US states and Washington DC. It was reported that most prescriptions written by the majority of providers are under the recommended thresholds, implying that most US providers are cautious in their prescribing. Interventions concentrating on this group of providers are unlikely to produce advantageous change and could induce unnecessary burdens. Over multiple years, a large proportion of providers have settled relationships with their individuals. Interventions to decrease improper opioid prescribing should be concentrated on enhancing individual care, management of individuals with complex pain, and decreasing comorbidities rather than seeking to enforce a threshold for prescribing.
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