Disappointing Early Results From Opioid Prescribing Limits for Acute Pain
Opioids are commonly prescribed for acute pain, but the amount prescribed often greatly exceeds what patients need. Leftover opioids can be diverted or misused, raising the risk of opioid overdose. To reduce leftover opioids, many states, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and pharmacies have implemented policies that limit either the duration or number of doses in opioid prescriptions for acute pain.
In a Viewpoint published in JAMA Surgery, Dr. Chua and colleagues review early evidence suggesting that these opioid prescribing limits have only had modest effects on opioid prescribing, highlight potential reasons for these disappointing results, and argue that a strategy relying on opioid prescribing limits alone is unlikely to substantially reduce excessive opioid prescribing.