ER Docs Aren't Overprescribing Pain Meds
Research led by the Mayo Clinic and published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine shows that opioid prescriptions written in emergency departments are typically for shorter durations and smaller doses than those prescribed in other medical settings. The study, which also suggests patients who receive a prescription for narcotic pain relievers in the ER are less likely to progress to long-term opioid use, dispels the common misconception that emergency rooms are the primary source of opioid prescription problems.
For the study, researchers analyzed 5.2 million opioid prescriptions for acute, or new onset, pain written throughout the United States between 2009 and 2015, using a compilation of clinical and administrative claim information from OptumLabs Data Warehouse. They discovered that opioid prescriptions for ER patients with private insurance were 44 percent less likely to exceed a three-day supply and 38 percent less likely to exceed a daily dose of 50 milligrams than narcotic drug prescriptions written outside of the ER. Emergency room patients were also 46 percent less likely to progress to long-term opioid use. According to researchers, study results were similar for Medicare patients.