Opioid-related physician visits drop in 2015 to 10.5%: 5 things to know

Practice Management

Patient visits for opioid prescriptions dropped significantly in 2015 and have stayed low, according to a new report from Medscape.

Here are five things to know:


1. Although the data varies by age group, region and state, research shows significantly fewer people nationwide are receiving opioid prescriptions at the physician's office. The data comes from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Md.


2. From 2006 to 2015, the researchers gathered data on more than 307,000 adult visits to a physician's office, finding 30,170 included a prescription for opioids. The percentage of opioid-related visits increased from 7.8 percent in 2006 to 12.6 percent in 2014 before dropping to 10.5 percent in 2015.


3. The rate of opioid-related visits was twice as high for younger patients, 35 to 44 year olds, than middle-aged patients, 55 to 64 years old. The rate of opioid-related office visits was higher in rural areas than metropolitan areas.


4. The opioid prescription rate was the highest for primary care physicians seeing established patients — 13 percent. Among new patients visiting primary care physicians, the opioid prescription rate was 9.6 percent.


5. States with the lowest opioid-related office visits were Illinois, Virginia, Massachusetts and New York.


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