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Adults Using Benzodiazepines More Likely to Receive Opioid Rx

Increase in new opioid prescriptions for U.S. adults using benzodiazepines stopped in 2010

THURSDAY, April 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) — New opioid prescriptions for U.S. adults using benzodiazepines stopped increasing in 2010, although the likelihood of receiving a prescription is still elevated versus the general population, according to a study published online April 12 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Joseph A. Ladapo, M.D., Ph.D., from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues identified adults aged 20 years or older receiving new opioid prescriptions and concurrently using a benzodiazepine. A total of 13,146 visits with a new opioid prescription were analyzed, representing 214 million visits nationally.

The researchers found that from 2005 to 2010, there was an increase in the rates of new opioid prescriptions among adults using a benzodiazepine, from 189 to 351 per 1,000 persons (rate difference, 162); by 2015, there was a decrease to 172 per 1,000 persons (rate difference, −179). In the general population not using benzodiazepines, there was a non-significant increase between 2005 and 2010 (rate difference, 15) and a non-significant decrease by 2015 (rate difference, −14). After adjusting for demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and diagnoses associated with pain, the likelihood of receiving a new opioid prescription during an ambulatory visit remained higher for patients concurrently using benzodiazepines than for the general population (adjusted relative risk, 1.83).

“Prescribing among higher-risk patients still occurred at rates higher than rates in the general population, representing an important opportunity to improve quality of care for patients experiencing pain,” the authors write.

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