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Trajectories of Opioid Prescribing by Dentists and OMFS Analyzed to Identify High Prescribers

Alexandria, VA – A study aiming to identify high prescribers by defining trajectories of opioid prescribing among dentists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMFS) was presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting & Exhibition of the AADOCR, held in conjunction with the 47th Annual Meeting of the CADR. The AADOCR/CADR Annual Meeting & Exhibition took place at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland on March 15-18, 2023.

The study, conducted by Tumader Khouja of the University of Pittsburgh, used the IQVIA Longitudinal Prescription dataset to identify actively prescribing dentists and OMFS (≥20 prescriptions of any medication) from 2015-2019. Group-based trajectory models (GBTM) identified opioid prescribing trajectories based on annual prescribing rates (number of opioids/total number of prescriptions*100). Chi-square or Mann–Whitney U tests identified significant differences in characteristics by trajectory group.

The study found that from 2015-2019, 2,741,030 opioids were prescribed by 199,145 dentists/OMFS. GBTM identified 8 groups of prescribers. In group 1 (14.3% of prescribers), opioids composed <1% of all prescriptions. Groups 2, 3 and 4 (15.2%, 17.7% and 13.0% of prescribers, respectively) prescribed at low rates (2015=5.5%, 12.5% and 16.9%; 2019=1.5%, 4.4% and 11.9%, respectively). Group 5 (7.9% of prescribers) decreased prescribing by 82.7% (2015=29.4%; 2019=5.1%). Groups 6 and 7 (16.3% and 12.1% of prescribers) prescribed opioids at moderate rates (2015=28.7% and 39.2%; 2019=18.1% and 28.8%, respectively). Group 8 (3.5% of prescribers) consistently prescribed at high rates (2015=54.6%; 2019=44.7%). Within this high group, 4 trajectories were identified; 3 groups did not change their prescribing while 1 group (7.5% of high prescribers) rapidly declined prescribing. Compared with a combination of the 3 groups, the decliner group had more dentists (85.4% vs 80.8%) and fewer OMFS (13.0% vs 18.4%). At baseline, decliners had more Medicaid patients (2.5% vs 1%) and a higher opioid prescribing rate (95.5 vs 91.6 prescriptions/provider/100 patients, p<0.001 for all).

This research was presented as part of the Interactive Talk presentation, “Trajectories of opioid prescribing by dentists and OMFS in the US”, which took place on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 8:20 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-07:00) during the “Dental Care and Health Service” session taking place from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

The American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to drive dental, oral, and craniofacial research to advance health and well-being. AADOCR represents the individual scientists, clinician-scientists, dental professionals, and students based in academic, government, non-profit and private-sector institutions who share our mission. AADOCR is the largest division of the International Association for Dental Research. Learn more at