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Clinical Trials Update
September 25, 2018

Informing Physicians of Fatal Overdose Curbs Opioid Prescribing

JAMA. 2018;320(12):1231. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.13875

A letter from a medical examiner notifying clinicians that their patients had died of opioid overdose curtailed subsequent opioid prescriptions, found a randomized trial published in Science.

The trial participants consisted of 861 clinicians who had prescribed schedule II, III, or IV drugs to 170 patients who died of a fatal overdose within 12 months of a prescription. Clinicians were randomized to receive a letter from the county medical examiner informing them of a patient’s overdose death and stating guidelines for safe controlled substance prescribing, or to a control group.