Over half US dental opioid prescriptions exceed recommended supply
In the US, dentists often prescribe opioids for dental pain management.
A new study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that over half the prescriptions exceed the recommended three-day supply.
Also, 29% of dentists prescribe stronger opioids than called for by the post-procedure pain management plan.
The study found opioid over-prescribing by dentists an upward trend.
The results call for improvements to the guidelines on prescribing opioids for oral pain management.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for pain management came into effect.
They suggest non-opioid analgesics wherever possible.
In case extra is needed for post-procedure pain management, low-potency opioids such as acetaminophen with codeine, are the preferred choice rather than high-potency opioids, such as oxycodone.
Three days, or less, is long enough to treat post-procedure oral pain.
Dentists should also try to identify patients at high risk of opioid abuse – something the local prescription drug monitoring programme allows for.
The researchers identified a spike in the proportion of prescribed opioids – an increase found in 2015.
Dr Suda, a professor and researcher, thinks dentists should talk to their patients about proper oral pain management.
Susan A. Rowan, a co-researcher, said that certain demographic groups carry a higher risk of addiction and overdose.
These include the following categories:
- Residents in the southern US
- Patients receiving oxycodone
- Patients aged between 18 and 34