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Opioid Prescribing by Primary Care Providers: a Cross-Sectional Analysis of Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, and Physician Prescribing Patterns

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ARTICLE DOWNLOAD

Opioid Prescribing by Primary Care Providers: a Cross-Sectional Analysis of Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, and Physician Prescribing Patterns

10$

M. James Lozada DO, Mukaila A. Raji MD, James S. Goodwin MD & Yong-Fang Kuo PhD 

Abstract

Background

Prescription opioid overprescribing is a focal point for legislators, but little is known about opioid prescribing patterns of primary care nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).

Objective

To identify prescription opioid overprescribers by comparing prescribing patterns of primary care physicians (MDs), nurse practitioners (NPs), and physician assistants (PAs).

Design

Retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of Medicare Part D enrollee prescription data.

Participants

Twenty percent national sample of 2015 Medicare Part D enrollees.

Main Measures

We identified potential opioid overprescribing as providers who met at least one of the following: (1) prescribed any opioid to > 50% of patients, (2) prescribed ≥ 100 morphine milligram equivalents (MME)/day to > 10% of patients, or (3) prescribed an opioid > 90 days to > 20% of patients.

Key Results

Among 222,689 primary care providers, 3.8% of MDs, 8.0% of NPs, and 9.8% of PAs met at least one definition of overprescribing. 1.3% of MDs, 6.3% of NPs, and 8.8% of PAs prescribed an opioid to at least 50% of patients. NPs/PAs practicing in states with independent prescription authority were > 20 times more likely to overprescribe opioids than NPs/PAs in prescription-restricted states.

Conclusions

Most NPs/PAs prescribed opioids in a pattern similar to MDs, but NPs/PAs had more outliers who prescribed high-frequency, high-dose opioids than did MDs. Efforts to reduce opioid overprescribing should include targeted provider education, risk stratification, and state legislation.

Only units of this product remain
Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s11606-020-05823-0