Opioid Prescriptions by Multiple Providers Common among Elderly, Increase Hospitalization Risks

March 7, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Despite guidelines recommending that a single provider prescribe opioids for each patient who needs them, elderly patients are getting opioid prescriptions from multiple providers and sometimes concurrently, finds a study published February 19, 2014, in BMJ. Elderly patients who receive opioid prescriptions from two or more providers are also at greater risk of being hospitalized for complications from opioid use. The study found that of Medicare beneficiaries who filled at least one prescription for opioids in 2010, 35% filled prescriptions from two or more providers. Additionally, of those who had opioid prescriptions from four or more providers, 77% received the prescriptions concurrently.

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