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Most Ophthalmologists Write Few Opioid Prescriptions

THURSDAY, Oct. 5, 2017 -- Most ophthalmologists write no more than 10 opioid prescriptions annually, with a mean supply per prescription of five days, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Shriji Patel, M.D., and Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., both from Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, analyzed physician and beneficiary measures using Medicare Part D Prescriber Data (2013 to 2015) to determine prescribing patterns for opioid drugs for participating ophthalmologists.

The researchers found that, consistently, 88 to 89 percent of ophthalmologists wrote 10 opioid prescriptions or fewer annually. Only about 1 percent of ophthalmologists wrote more than 100 opioid prescriptions annually. On average, ophthalmologists wrote seven opioid prescriptions per year with a mean supply of five days. The six states with the highest volume of annual opioid prescriptions per ophthalmologist were in the South.

"In general, ophthalmologists show discretion in their opioid prescribing patterns. The present opioid abuse epidemic should prompt physicians to consider revisiting their prescribing protocols given the high risk for dependency," conclude the authors.

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Posted: October 2017

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