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Prescription History Among Individuals Dispensed Opioid Prescriptions, 2017–2020

      In response to the opioid overdose crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (CDC Guideline) in 2016, which included recommendations to initiate opioids carefully and only when expected benefits outweigh risks.
      • Dowell D
      • Haegerich TM
      • Chou R.
      CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain - United States, 2016 [published correction appears in MMWR Recomm Rep. 2016;65(11):295].
      Although opioid prescriptions have decreased in recent years,

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019 Annual surveillance report of drug-related risks and outcomes - United States surveillance special report. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/pubs/2019-cdc-drug-surveillance-report.pdf. Published November 1, 2019. Accessed April 5, 2021.

      an estimated 9.4 million people misused opioids in 2020.

      Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No.PEP21-07-01-003, NSDUH Series H-56). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt35325/NSDUHFFRPDFWHTMLFiles2020/2020NSDUHFFR1PDFW102121.pdf. Published October 2021. Accessed December 20, 2021.

      Little is known about how prescriptions dispensed to opioid-naive individuals (i.e., those new to opioid therapy) have changed in recent years; previous research focused on commercially insured individuals from 2012 to 2017.
      • Zhu W
      • Chernew ME
      • Sherry TB
      • Maestas N.
      Initial opioid prescriptions among U.S. commercially insured patients, 2012-2017.
      Understanding these patterns is important given the association between initial opioid-prescribing characteristics, such as prescription duration, and the likelihood of long-term use.
      • Shah A
      • Hayes CJ
      • Martin BC.
      Characteristics of initial prescription episodes and likelihood of long-term opioid use - United States, 2006-2015.
      This study examines previous opioid prescription history and initial prescription characteristics among individuals with dispensed opioid prescriptions from 2017 through 2020 using a large all-payer pharmaceutical claims database.
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      REFERENCES

        • Dowell D
        • Haegerich TM
        • Chou R.
        CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain - United States, 2016 [published correction appears in MMWR Recomm Rep. 2016;65(11):295].
        MMWR Recomm Rep. 2016; 65: 1-49https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.rr6501e1
      1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019 Annual surveillance report of drug-related risks and outcomes - United States surveillance special report. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/pubs/2019-cdc-drug-surveillance-report.pdf. Published November 1, 2019. Accessed April 5, 2021.

      2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No.PEP21-07-01-003, NSDUH Series H-56). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt35325/NSDUHFFRPDFWHTMLFiles2020/2020NSDUHFFR1PDFW102121.pdf. Published October 2021. Accessed December 20, 2021.

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        Initial opioid prescriptions among U.S. commercially insured patients, 2012-2017.
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        Characteristics of initial prescription episodes and likelihood of long-term opioid use - United States, 2006-2015.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017; 66: 265-269https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6610a1
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