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Dental Opioid Prescriptions & Subsequent Abuse

JAMA Intern Med; ePub 2018 Dec 3; Schroeder, et al

Among adolescents and young adults, dental opioid prescriptions written for pain management of third molar extractions, may be associated with subsequent opioid use and abuse. This according to a retrospective cohort study that examined the association between index dental opioid prescriptions from dental clinics for opioid-naïve adolescents and young adults in 2015 and new persistent use and subsequent diagnosis of abuse in this population. Among the findings:

  • Among 754,002 individuals with continuous enrollment in 2015, 97,462 patients (12.9%) received ≥1 opioid prescriptions, of whom 29,791 (30.6%) received prescriptions supplied by a dental clinician.
  • Index opioid prescriptions in opioid-naïve adolescents and young adults were associated with a statistically significant 6.8% absolute risk increase in persistent opioid use and a 5.4% increase in the subsequent diagnosis of opioid abuse.
  • There was only 1 death in each cohort.


Schroeder AR, Dehghan M, Newman TB, Bentley JP, Park KT. Association of opioid prescriptions from dental clinicians for US adolescents and young adults with subsequent opioid use and abuse. [Published online ahead of print December 03, 2018]. JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.5419.