A recent study has found that opioid days supply and the number of prescriptions in the first episode of opioid use can greatly affect the likelihood a patient will become an opioid chronic user. The study examined a random sample of opioid-naive adults without cancer that received a prescription for opioid pain relievers. Starting with the third day, the risk of becoming a chronic opioid user grows with each day additional day supply provided to patients. Prescribing opioids is increasingly becoming a complicated decision for doctors to make.
FIGURE 1. One- and 3-year probabilities of continued opioid use among opioid-naïve patients, by number of days’ supply* of the first opioid prescription — United States, 2006–2015
* Days’ supply of the first prescription is expressed in days (1–40) in 1-day increments. If a patient had multiple prescriptions on the first day, the prescription with the longest days’ supply was considered the first prescription.
FIGURE 2. One- and 3-year probabilities of continued opioid use among opioid-naïve patients, by number of prescriptions* in the first episode of opioid use — United States, 2006–2015
* Number of prescriptions is expressed as 1–15, in increments of one prescription.