Days' Supply of Initial Opioid Analgesic Prescriptions and Additional Fills for Acute Pain Conditions Treated in the Primary Care Setting - United States, 2014

Citation:

Mundkur ML, Franklin JM, Abdia Y, Huybrechts KF, Patorno E, Gagne JJ, Meyer TE, Staffa J, Bateman BT. Days' Supply of Initial Opioid Analgesic Prescriptions and Additional Fills for Acute Pain Conditions Treated in the Primary Care Setting - United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68 (6) :140-143.

Date Published:

2019 Feb 15

Abstract:

During 2017, opioids were associated with 47,600 deaths in the United States, approximately one third of which involved a prescription opioid (1). Amid concerns that overprescribing to patients with acute pain remains an essential factor underlying misuse, abuse, diversion, and unintentional overdose, several states have restricted opioid analgesic prescribing (2,3). To characterize patterns of opioid analgesic use for acute pain in primary care settings before the widespread implementation of limits on opioid prescribing (2,3), patients filling an opioid analgesic prescription for acute pain were identified from a 2014 database of commercial claims. Using a logistic generalized additive model, the probability of obtaining a refill was estimated as a function of the initial number of days supplied. Among 176,607 patients with a primary care visit associated with an acute pain complaint, 7.6% filled an opioid analgesic prescription. Among patients who received an initial 7-day supply, the probability of obtaining an opioid analgesic prescription refill for nine of 10 conditions was <25%. These results suggest that a ≤7-day opioid analgesic prescription might be sufficient for most, but not all, patients seen in primary care settings with acute pain who appear to need opioid analgesics. However, treatment strategies should account for patient and condition characteristics, which might alternatively reduce or extend the anticipated duration of benefit from opioid analgesic therapy.