Study objective

A team of researchers from the USA has recently examined risk for transitioning to persistent opioid or high-risk use after an initial emergency department (ED) opioid prescription.The study examined adults with no record of opioid prescriptions in the 12 months prior to ED presentation and who filled a new opioid prescription within a day of discharge. This large study involved 202,807 index ED visits, whereby 23,381 resulted in a new opioid prescription. 13.7% of these progressed to persistent or high-risk opioid prescription fills within 12 months, compared with 3.2% for patients who received no opioids at the index visit. Skeletal or connective-tissue disorder; neck, back, or dental pain; and a history of prescribed benzodiazepines were associated with the highest risk, and the highest conversion rates were amongst those prescribed higher doses of opioids. The study suggests that caution is required in follow-up of those seen in ED who are prescribed opioids. Read the original reference here