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Risk for Overdose Up With Opioid Prescriptions After Dental Procedure

Last Updated: May 10, 2021.

MONDAY, May 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who fill a prescription for an opioid medication after a dental procedure have an increased risk for overdose, as do their family members, according to a study published online April 29 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted two analyses to examine the correlation between opioid exposure (at least one initial prescription of opioids within three days of the procedure) and opioid overdose within 90 days of the procedure. The patient analysis included 8,544,098 procedures among privately and publicly insured patients aged 13 to 64 years, and the family analysis included 3,461,469 procedures for privately insured patients in family plans.

The researchers found that the 90-day risk for overdose was 5.8 versus 2.2 per 10,000 procedures when at least one initial opioid prescription did and did not occur, respectively (average marginal effect, 1.5) in the patient analysis. In the family analysis, the 90-day risk for overdose in a family member was 1.7 versus 1.0 per 10,000 procedures when at least one initial prescription did and did not occur, respectively (average marginal effect, 0.4).

"Our paper shows that when patients fill dental opioid prescriptions, the risk of opioid overdose increases both for themselves and their family members," Chua said in a statement. "This underscores the importance of avoiding dental opioid prescribing when nonopioids like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are effective options for pain control."

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