- Although overall opioid prescribing rates decreased an average of 10% annually between 2015 and 2017, with reductions in 74.7% of US counties, the morphine milligram equivalent (MME) per capita in 2017 was 3 times higher than the amount prescribed in 1999.
Why this matters
- County-level data included in the study could aid with the development and implementation of local prevention efforts.
- Study used data from IQVIA’s Xponent database, containing prescriptions dispensed from nearly 50,400 retail pharmacies, which represents 90% of prescriptions in the United States.
- Opioid prescribing for 2015 and 2017 at the national and county levels were evaluated.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- From 2015 to 2017:
- the amount of opioids prescribed decreased 20.1%,
- opioid prescribing rates decreased 16.9%,
- high-dose prescribing rates decreased 25.3%, and
- the average daily MME/prescription decreased 6.0%.
- Opioid prescription decreased in 74.7% of counties.
- However, in 2017, opioids continued to be prescribed at 512.6 MME/capita, nearly triple the amount prescribed in 1999.
- Appropriateness of opioid prescriptions could not be determined.
- Lack of data on prescriptions dispensed outside of retail pharmacies.
Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD