Despite concerns that opioids put patients at risk for dependency and adverse events, prescriptions for opioids are common for patients at discharge, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers examined a random sample of Medicare claims for hospitalized patients and found nearly 15 percent of those patients filed a claim for an opioid prescription after discharge; none of the patients had previously been prescribed an opioid the two months prior to their hospitalization. Over 40% of those continued to have opioid claims 90 days post discharge. The degree to which observed hospital variation in short- and longer-term opioid use reflects variation in inappropriate prescribing at hospital discharge is unknown.
The recently published CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain has recommendations to reduce the chronic use of opioid medications.
To access more information on the study, visit JAMA Internal Medicine.
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