For COVID-19 vaccine updates, please review our information guide. For patient eligibility and scheduling availability, please visit VaccineTogetherNY.org.

Opioid Prescriptions by Orthopaedic Surgeons in a Medicare Population: Recent Trends, Potential Complications, and Characteristics of High Prescribers.

TitleOpioid Prescriptions by Orthopaedic Surgeons in a Medicare Population: Recent Trends, Potential Complications, and Characteristics of High Prescribers.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBoddapati V, Padaki AS, Lehman RA, Lenke LG, Levine WN, K Riew D
JournalJ Am Acad Orthop Surg
Volume29
Issue5
Paginatione232-e237
Date Published2021 Mar 01
ISSN1940-5480
Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Orthopaedic surgeons prescribe an estimated 7.7% of all US opioid prescriptions, and understanding prescribing patterns is important to curtail the inappropriate dispensing of these drugs. The purpose of this study was to characterize recent trends in opioid prescribing patterns by orthopaedic surgeons within a Medicare population and to identify demographical characteristics associated with the highest prescribers.

METHODS: This study used Medicare Part D beneficiary prescription between 2013 and 2016. The number of prescriptions written per orthopaedic surgeon, prescriptions received by each beneficiary, and the length of each prescription were compared across years. Top prescribers were identified and compared with the remainder of prescribers to identify differences in sex, professional degree, and geographic regions.

RESULTS: Between 2013 and 2016, an average of 24,100 unique orthopaedic prescribers were identified. There was a decrease in the average number of prescriptions written per year from 157 to 148 and per beneficiary from 2.1 to 1.8 from 2013 to 2016, respectively. The most commonly prescribed opioids were hydrocodone/acetaminophen (47.1% of all opioids prescribed) and oxycodone/acetaminophen (17.5%). The total number of opioid prescriptions decreased by 372,045, and nonopioid pain medications increased by 269,917 between 2013 and 2016. Orthopaedic surgeons were more likely to have a high total opioid prescription count if they were male, lived in the south, and had an osteopathic degree (P < 0.001 for all).

DISCUSSION: Orthopaedic surgeons prescribe an estimated 7.7% of all US opioid prescriptions; however, in recent years, there has been a decrease in the number of prescriptions written per surgeon, per beneficiary, total opioid prescriptions, and an increase in total nonopioid prescriptions. These changes may reflect an increase in public awareness of the opioid epidemic and subtle changes in physician behavior. Differences in opioid prescription volume by sex, professional degree, and region also illustrate a lack of consensus on opioid prescription guidelines in orthopaedic surgery.

DOI10.5435/JAAOS-D-20-00612
Alternate JournalJ Am Acad Orthop Surg
PubMed ID32796374