Dental opioid prescriptions and overdose risk in patients and their families
Studies have not assessed whether dental opioid prescriptions are associated with opioid overdose in patients or their family members, the latter of which may have access to patients’ opioids. Using the 2011-2018 IBM MarketScan Dental, Commercial, and Medicaid Multi-State Databases, we conducted two analyses. In the patient analysis, dental procedures for privately and publicly insured patients aged 13-64 years were identified. The exposure was ≥1 “initial prescription” (dispensed opioid prescription within 3 days of the procedure). Using logistic regression, we evaluated the association between the exposure and ≥1 overdose within 90 days of the procedure. In the family analysis, procedures for privately insured patients in family plans were identified. We used logistic regression to evaluate the association between the exposure and ≥1 overdose in a family member within 90 days. In the patient analysis, we found that having ≥1 initial prescription was associated with an increased risk of overdose in patients (1.5 overdoses per 10,000 procedures) – a risk difference that could translate to 1,600 overdoses nationwide given that 11 million dental opioid prescriptions are dispensed each year. In the family analysis, we found that having ≥1 initial prescription was associated with an increased risk of overdose in a family member (0.4 overdoses per 10,000 procedures). These findings further highlight the importance of avoiding unnecessary dental opioid prescribing.