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Limited Opioid Prescribing Among Dermatologists

Overall, 93.9 percent of the top 1 percent of opioid prescribers worked in a surgical practice

MONDAY, Feb. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Opioid prescribing among dermatologists is limited, with most of the top prescribing dermatologists working in surgical practice, according to research published online Feb. 7 in JAMA Dermatology.

Severine Cao, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues characterized the current status and potential complications of opioid prescribing practices among dermatologists using Medicare Part D prescriber data. Data were included for 12,537 dermatologists: 42.3 percent of them prescribed no opioid claims; 43.1 percent prescribed one to 10 opioid claims; and 14.5 percent prescribed more than 10 claims. The authors conducted a systematic literature review to estimate the outcomes of prescribing practices on the exposed population.

The researchers found that among dermatologists prescribing at least 10 opioid claims, each beneficiary was given a mean of one opioid claim, with a mean supply lasting 4.4 days. Overall, 93.9 percent of the top 1 percent of opioid prescribers (n = 115) worked in a surgical practice. Estimates suggested that opioids prescribed by dermatologists could lead to 3,877 to 7,602 and 1,825 to 4,209 beneficiaries continuing to use opioids at one and three years, respectively. Overall, 9,882 to 22,806 beneficiaries could experience gastrointestinal tract or central nervous system adverse events, and fractures could be experienced by 588 to 999.

“Opioid prescribing among dermatologists is limited and concentrated in the surgical setting, but it may be associated with a substantial number of adverse events,” the authors write.

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