Kelly Young, Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD

Opioid prescribing may not be as concentrated among high-volume prescribers as previously thought, according to a research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers examined 2013 Medicare claims data for schedule II opioids. The top 1% of Medicare schedule II opioid prescribers accounted for 18% of opioid claims. (For comparison, California Workers’ Compensation data showed that the top 1% accounted for 33% of claims.)

The specialties of pain management, anesthesiology, and physical rehabilitation had the highest rates of opioid claims, while family and general medicine had the most claims by volume.

Comment

The authors conclude: “Efforts to curtail national opioid overprescribing must address a broad swath of prescribers to be effective.”

CITATION(S):

JAMA Internal Medicine research letter (Free)

Background: NEJM Journal Watch General Medicine coverage of patients getting opioid prescriptions from multiple providers (Your

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