APS E-News | Advocacy Update Report | November 2018
Study Shows Opioid Prescribing Remains High
Opioid prescribing remains high and varies widely by specialty, according to a new study, “Opioid Prescribing by Specialty and Volume in the U.S.,” in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The findings in this study highlight important insights into opioid prescribing in the United States. A total of 209.5 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in the United States from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017. The most common opioid prescribers were doctors in family, internal, and pain medicine; nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and dentists.
- Average number of opioid prescriptions written per prescriber was 215.8, with the highest among pain medicine (1,314.9) and physical medicine and rehabilitation (1,023.1) specialty groups, followed by orthopedics (438.7) and family medicine (428.4).
- Primary care physicians accounted for 35.8% of all prescriptions, non-physician prescribers accounted for 19.2%, and pain medicine specialists accounted for 8.9%.
- The proportion of opioids prescribed by physician assistants and nurse practitioners has increased since 2012 and is expected to continue to rise given their increased role in the healthcare system.