Access to medical cannabis linked with reduced opioid prescriptions from orthopedic surgeons
PHOENIX — Results presented at the Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting showed a reduction in opioid prescriptions by orthopedic surgeons to Medicare Part D patients among states that permitted access to medical cannabis.
Cesar D. Lopez, BS, and colleagues used the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Event database to measure annual aggregate daily doses of all opioid medications prescribed by orthopedic surgeons in the United States. Researchers examined associations between state-specific cannabis regulations and annual total daily doses of opioid medications using adjusted linear regression models.
“After doing the analysis, we found that medical cannabis laws are associated with a reduction in opioid prescriptions by orthopedic surgeons,” Lopez said in his presentation.
Lopez noted an average reduction of approximately 144,000 opioid prescriptions in a given year in states that allowed patient access to tetrahydrocannabinol-grade medical cannabis, representing an average 19.7% reduction from baseline. He added states that allowed patient access to in-state dispensaries had a reduction of approximately 96,000 annual prescriptions by orthopedic surgeons, a significant reduction of 13.1%.
“However, we did not find any significant association between legalized recreational marijuana laws and opioid prescriptions, although there is continuing debate about how this might affect the use of opioids in the future,” Lopez said. – by Casey Tingle
Lopez C, et al. Poster 518. Presented at: Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting; Feb. 8-11, 2020; Phoenix.
Disclosure: Lopez reports no relevant financial disclosures.