Who do orthopedic surgeons prescribe opioids to & how often? 6 study insights

Orthopedic surgeons prescribe opioid refills infrequently and prescribe fewer opioids to teenagers, according to research published in the Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Researchers surveyed 555 orthopedic surgeons across 37 states about opioid prescribing.

The survey found:

1. Of those who responded, 42.3 percent of orthopedic surgeons said they had a patient who developed an opioid dependency.

2. However, 35.3 percent said opioid use wasn't a problem at their practice.

3. Only 30.3 percent responded they prescribed opioid refills. Increased refill prescriptions were associated with more years in practice and practicing in a suburban environment.

4. Orthopedic surgeons most commonly prescribed hydrocodone and acetaminophen to adults and teenagers.

5. Patients who undergo non-surgical, minor or arthroscopic surgical procedures were prescribed opioids on a fairly uniform basis.

6. Researchers found "considerable variation in prescribing for fractures and major procedures."

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