Opioid prescriptions for minor injury differs  by where you live

Opioid prescriptions for minor injury differs  by where you live

Patients who sought care for a sprained ankle in states that were found to be ‘high prescribers’ of opioids were approximately three times more likely to receive a prescription for the drugs than those treated in ‘low-prescribing’ states, according to new research. Additional results of the study show that patients who received prescriptions for long courses of the drugs were five times more likely to fill additional opioid prescriptions over the next six months than those who received just a few days’ supply.

Although opioids are not – and should not – be the first-line treatment for an ankle sprain, our study shows that opioid prescribing for these minor injuries is still common and far too variable,” said lead author M. Kit Delgado, MD, MS, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology at Penn. “Given that we cannot explain this variation after adjusting for differences in patient characteristics, this study highlights opportunities to reduce the number of people exposed to prescription opioids for the first time and also to reduce the exposure to riskier high-intensity prescriptions.

In the study, researchers examined private insurance claims data from more than 30,800 patients visiting U.S. emergency departments for an ankle sprain from 2011-2015. All patients included in the study had not filled an opioid prescription within the past six months. Overall, 25 percent of patients received a prescription for an opioid pain medication (such as hydrocodone or oxycodone). However, there was wide variation across states: threefold between the low vs. high prescribing states, and at the extremes it was over tenfold, with only three percent of patients received an opioid prescription in North Dakota, compared to 40 percent in Arkansas.

Source: Chance of being prescribed opioids for minor injury differs dramatically by where you live

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.