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.


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


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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