Guy GP, et al. MMWR. 2017;66:697–704.

July 07, 2017
1 min read

CDC reports decline in opioid prescriptions from 2010 to 2015


Guy GP, et al. MMWR. 2017;66:697–704.

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Recent CDC data showed that after peaking in 2010, opioid prescriptions in the United States declined through 2015.

However, it was noted that the opioid prescription rate in 2015 was three times higher than the rate reported in 1999.

In the current study, the CDC investigated retail prescription data for the period from 2006 to 2015. Findings included rates, amounts, dosage and duration information. They also analyzed prescribing patterns between 2010 and 2015.

In 2010, prescriptions in the United Stated peaked at 782 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per capita. By 2015, the rate was 640 MME per capita. Substantial variation across the country was also reported.

Results of the county-level analysis showed that locations with a higher percentage of non-Hispanic whites, a higher prevalence of diabetes and arthritis, micropolitan status — defined as a nonmetro town or city — higher unemployment and higher Medicaid enrollment had higher levels of opioid use.

Clinicians ae encouraged to follow guidelines for prescribing, including the CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Non-opioid pain management therapy also should be considered.

In a statement, AMA emphasized that although the prescribing data are encouraging, more progress is necessary to combat the opioid epidemic. – by Rob Volansky

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.