Opioid prescriptions following dental surgery linked to addiction in young patients: 5 study findings

Dentists

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In a study by Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine, researchers examined whether opioid prescriptions after oral surgery were linked to drug abuse among teens and young adults.

The study featured 14,888 patients ages 16 to 25 yeas old who underwent wisdom teeth extraction procedures in 2015. Patients who were prescribed opioids were matched with two control individuals who did not receive dental opioid prescriptions.

Here are five study findings:

1. Of the opioids prescribed, 75 percent were for hydrocodone-acetaminophen. Prior to the surgeries, 3 percent of the participants in each group were diagnosed with substance abuse of nonopioid substances.

2. In the opioid prescription group, 6.8 percent had additional opioids prescribed between 90 and 365 days postoperatively.

3. For patients who were prescribed opioids, 5.8 percent were diagnosed with opioid abuse during the year after the first prescription.

4. In comparison, 0.1 percent of patients in the control group received another opioid prescription, and 0.4 percent were diagnosed with opioid abuse one year postoperatively.

5. Younger patients were more likely to develop substance abuse. Additionally, female patients were more likely to have persistent opioid dependency.

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