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Research Letter
April 20, 2020

Trends in Utilization of Prescribed Controlled Substances in US Commercially Insured Adults, 2004-2019

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 20, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.0989

Despite reductions in opioid prescribing in the US in recent years,1 rates of drug overdose deaths continue to increase.2 While most of these deaths involve opioids, significant increases in overdose deaths involving other prescription drugs, including stimulants, benzodiazepines, and depressants, have been reported.3 Yet, relatively little is known about the prescribing rates of nonopioid controlled substances in adults, particularly in recent years. We sought to examine trends in pharmacy dispensing of all prescribed controlled substances among US commercially insured adults over the past 15 years.

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