Risk of Long-Term Opioid Use Can be Cut by Giving Patients Just One Prescription

A new study concludes the risk of long-term opioid use can be reduced by starting patients off with a single prescription of a short-acting opioid, with no refills.

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University found the odds of becoming a long-term opioid user was 2.25 higher among patients who received two opioid prescriptions, compared to one, MD Magazine reports. Long-acting opioids, and higher doses of the drugs, were linked with a higher risk of long-term opioid use.

The findings are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

“The increasing risk of long-term use even at low cumulative doses supports the Centers for Disease Control recommendation of limiting therapy to three to seven days for most patients,” lead author Richard Deyo said in a news release.

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