Health Services Research & Development

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Suda KJ, Durkin MJ, Calip GS, Gellad WF, Kim H, Lockhart PB, Rowan SA, Thornhill MH. Comparison of Opioid Prescribing by Dentists in the United States and England. JAMA Network Open. 2019 May 3; 2(5):e194303.
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Abstract: Importance: The United States consumes most of the opioids worldwide despite representing a small portion of the world''s population. Dentists are one of the most frequent US prescribers of opioids despite data suggesting that nonopioid analgesics are similarly effective for oral pain. While oral health and dentist use are generally similar between the United States and England, it is unclear how opioid prescribing by dentists varies between the 2 countries. Objective: To compare opioid prescribing by dentists in the United States and England. Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional study of prescriptions for opioids dispensed from outpatient pharmacies and health care settings between January 1 and December 31, 2016, by dentists in the United States and England. Data were analyzed from October 2018 to January 2019. Exposures: Opioids prescribed by dentists. Main Outcomes and Measures: Proportion and prescribing rates of opioid prescriptions. Results: In 2016, the proportion of prescriptions written by US dentists that were for opioids was 37 times greater than the proportion written by English dentists. In all, 22.3% of US dental prescriptions were opioids (11.4 million prescriptions) compared with 0.6% of English dental prescriptions (28?082 prescriptions) (difference, 21.7%; 95% CI, 13.8%-32.1%; P?