With a huge push to reduce opioid prescribing, little is known about the real-world benefits or risks to patients.
A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found an alarming outcome: Patients coming off opioids for pain were three times more likely to die of an overdose in the years that followed.
“We are worried by these results, because they suggest that the policy recommendations intended to make opioid prescribing safer are not working as intended,” said lead author Jocelyn James, assistant professor of general internal medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “We have to make sure we develop systems to protect patients.”
Physicians had already begun to reduce opioid prescribing by 2016, when the CDC issued its first guideline on opioid prescribing. That trend accelerated after 2016.