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February 05, 2020

Shorter Initial Prescriptions for Opioids: Health & Economic Benefits - New Research Insights

Addiction to prescription opioids poses a real threat to patients and society. Could we reduce this threat by encouraging physicians to prescribe shorter-duration initial prescriptions for opioids? Results from this simulation study suggest that the answer is yes. Moving 10,000 patients to shorter initial prescriptions would yield patient welfare gains equivalent to up to 4,500 additional opioid free months over two years as well as appreciable direct savings for employers. These estimated gains are large enough that even relatively costly initiatives to change prescribing behavior would be cost effective.

This Research Insights summarizes the findings of this innovative study by Margrét Bjarnadóttir and colleagues at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.