Narcotic Slippery Slope

In a recent article (NEJM 2017; 376: 663-73), ML Barnett show that opioid-prescribing patterns of emergency physicians may increase the risk of long-term use. By focusing on variation of prescribing practices among physicians at the same hospitals and with a sample size of ~380,000 patients, the authors provide convincing data that starting opioids even for an intended brief period can have lasting consequences. This study focused on medicare beneficiaries (average age ~68 yrs) who received narcotics from either higher-frequency or lower-frequency physician prescribers.

In their discussion, the authors state “if our results represent a causal relationship, for every 49 patients prescribed a new opioid in the emergency department who might not otherwise use opioids, 1 will become a long-term user.”

My  take: Starting a narcotic may be the first step in a long treacherous road.

Related blog posts:


2 thoughts on “Narcotic Slippery Slope

  1. Pingback: Opioid Use and Liver Transplantation Outcomes | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: Likelihood of Opioid Dependency If Opioid Given During an IBD Flare | gutsandgrowth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.