Almost one in five patients with cirrhosis receive opioid prescriptions during outpatient visits, according to a study presented at The Liver Meeting. Anna H. Lee, MD, and colleagues used data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (10.1 million ambulatory visits from 2006-2016) to assess national opioid prescription patterns in patients with cirrhosis. They found that 17% of visits were associated with an opioid prescription, the majority of which (91%) were for opioid prescription renewals. The most frequently prescribed opioids were oxycodone (35%) and hydrocodone (25%). Most opioid visits (68%) were with primary care clinicians; 29% were with gastroenterologists. A documented pain diagnosis was made in 41% of visits associated with an opioid prescription, including musculoskeletal (34%) and gastrointestinal (28%) pain. “Since most opioid prescriptions are associated with primary care visits, we should target our educational efforts about harms toward primary care providers,” Dr. Lee said in a statement.
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