by Linda Carroll
Use of prescription opioids remains high in the U.S., despite public health efforts and growing awareness of risks for abuse and overdose, a new study suggests. Over a decade, the proportion of adults being prescribed opioid medications has changed little, but dosages have continued to rise and are especially high among patients with permanent disability, researchers report in The BMJ. That was surprising to study leader Molly Moore Jeffery of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “You expect to see them using more, but it was bigger than I expected,” she said. The dosages are concerning because they were higher than the “point where you see a greater risk of overdose,” Jeffery said.
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Context: Despite increased attention to opioidabuse, prescriptions have remained relatively unchanged for many U.S. patients, research led by Mayo Clinic finds. The research, published in The BMJ, shows that opioid prescription rates have remained flat for commercially insured patients over the past decade. Rates for some Medicare patients are leveling but remain above where they were 10 years ago. “Our data suggest not much has changed in prescription opioid use since about five years ago,” says Molly Jeffery, Ph.D., lead author, who is the scientific director of the Mayo Clinic Division of Emergency Medicine Research. More information about the study can be found on Mayo Clinic News Network.
Contact: Adam Harringa