Only 1% of ED patients given opioids become chronic users, study finds

Only one percent of opioid-naive emergency department patients receiving opioid prescriptions upon discharge demonstrated persistent opioid use six months later, according to a study published Nov. 1 in Annals of Emergency Medicine. 

Researchers analyzed data on 484 opioid-naive patients who sought care for acute pain at two EDs from November 2017 to July 2018. All patients were prescribed an opioid when discharged. Researchers followed up with patients six months after the ED visit and reviewed statewide prescription monitoring program data.  

Sixty-six percent of patients only filled the initial prescription given in the ED, while 21 percent filled at least two prescriptions within the six months. Five patients (one percent) met the criteria for persistent opioid use after six months. Of these patients, four reported moderate or severe pain in the affected body part they first sought care for.

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Rate of opioid use disorder in every state

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