Opioid Addiction Linked to Length of First Prescription – 2018

A new study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) sheds light on the link between physicians’ opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse.

Among surgery patients with no history of recent or chronic opioid use, the researchers demonstrated that duration of treatment is a more potent predictor of abuse and overdose than dosage.

Most clinical efforts have focused on minimizing risk through dosage management. The study appears in The BMJ (formerly The British Medical Journal) and suggests current efforts to mitigate opioid addiction are misguided.

However, dosage — the amount of medication a patient takes over 24 hours — does emerge as a powerful risk indicator among those who took the medications for extended periods.

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Rick Nauert PhD