Taking an opioid pain reliever for more than just a few days increases the probability of long-term use, according to a recent study that examined prescribing patterns most likely to result in opioid use for a year or longer.
To decipher those patterns, researchers from the University of Arkansas analyzed opioid prescriptions written for adults in managed care plans from 2006 to 2015. Among 1.3 million patients with an opioid prescription, about 34 000 continued the therapy for a year or longer and some 6400 used an opioid for 3 years or longer.
Certain Prescribing Patterns Lead to Long-term Opioid Use. JAMA. 2017;317(16):1616. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.3766
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