Are Opioids Prescribed by Dental Providers Associated With Later Use, Abuse?

JAMA Internal Medicine


Media advisory: To contact study author Alan R. Schroeder, M.D., email Erin Digitale at The full study is available on the For The Media website.

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Bottom Line: An analysis of claims data for privately insured adolescents and young adults suggests initial exposure to opioids prescribed by dental providers may be associated with increased risk of subsequent opioid use and abuse. Dentists are a leading source of opioid prescriptions for children and adolescents. This observational study examined outpatient opioid prescriptions for patients 16 to 25 in 2015 because that’s the common age when third molars show up and are extracted. Included in the study were 14,888 people in an opioid-exposed group because they had filled an opioid prescription from a dental provider and 29,776 in a control group not exposed to opioids. The study relied on diagnosis codes so some misclassification may have happened and the results may not be generalized to other insured patients. The study concludes that more scrutiny of third-molar extractions and opioid prescriptions associated with postoperative care is needed.

Authors: Alan R. Schroeder, M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, and coauthors


To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.


Editor’s Note: The article contains funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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