Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Trajectories of opioid prescribing by general dentists, specialists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the United States, 2015-2019.

Khouja T, Shah NH, Suda KJ, Polk DE. Trajectories of opioid prescribing by general dentists, specialists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the United States, 2015-2019. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939). 2024 Jan 1; 155(1):7-16.e7.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Despite decreases in opioid prescribing from 2016 through 2019, some dentists (general, specialists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons) in the United States continue to prescribe opioids at high rates. The authors'' objective was to define dentists'' trajectories of opioid prescribing. METHODS: The authors identified actively prescribing dentists from the IQVIA Longitudinal Prescription data set, from 2015 through 2019. Group-based trajectory modeling identified opioid prescribing trajectories on the basis of dentists'' annual prescribing rates for the overall sample (model 1) and for high prescribers (model 2). The authors used ? or Mann-Whitney U tests to characterize the model 2 trajectory groups. RESULTS: In model 1 (n? = 199,145 prescribers), group-based trajectory modeling identified 8 trajectories that were grouped into 5 categories. A total of 14.8% were nonprescribers who composed less than?1% of all prescriptions, low prescribers (3 groups; 46.0%) prescribed at low rates (2015: 5.5%-16.9%; 2019: 1.5%-11.9%), decliners (7.3%) decreased prescribing rapidly (2015: 29.4%; 2019: 5.1%), moderately high prescribers (2 groups; 28.5%) prescribed moderately (2015: 28.7% and 39.2%; 2019: 18.1% and 28.8%), and consistently high prescribers (3.4%) prescribed at high rates (2015: 54.6%; 2019: 44.7%). In model 2, from consistently high prescribers (n? = 6,845), 4 trajectories were identified. Of these 4 groups, 1 group (7.5%) declined prescribing rapidly. The groups did not differ meaningfully; however, the rapid decliners included fewer oral and maxillofacial surgeons (13.0% vs 18.4%), saw more Medicaid patients (2.5% vs 1.0%), and had higher opioid prescribing rates in 2015 (95.5% vs 91.6%) (P? < .001 for all). CONCLUSIONS: The authors identified variations in dentists'' opioid prescribing rates. Although 60% of dentists decreased prescribing rates by 30% through 83%, 3.4% of dentists consistently prescribed at high rates. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Some dentists continue to prescribe opioids at high levels, indicating that additional information is needed to better inform policy and clinical decision making.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.