Persistent opioid use associated with dental opioid prescriptions among publicly and privately insured US patients, 2014 to 2018

Persistent opioid use occurs when opioid-naïve patients prescribed opioids after procedures continue to fill opioid prescriptions well after the time that acute post-procedural pain typically occurs. Prior studies have assessed the risk of persistent opioid use following dental opioid prescriptions in privately insured adolescents and young adults, but whether these findings generalize to all dental procedures and to publicly insured patients is unknown. Using the 2014-2018 IBM MarketScan Commercial and Multi-State Medicaid databases, we found that the adjusted risk of persistent opioid use was 1.5 percentage points higher in all patients undergoing dental procedure when opioid prescriptions were subsequently dispensed versus when they were not dispensed. The adjusted risk of persistent opioid use was 1.0 percentage points higher among publicly insured patients compared with privately insured patients. These findings suggest that the risk of persistent opioid use associated with dental opioid prescriptions – which has only been assessed among the privately insured to date – is greater than previously appreciated.

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