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Papers of the Week

2020 May 07

J Addict Dis

Physician networks and potentially inappropriate opioid prescriptions.


McClellan C, Flottemesch TJ, Ali MM, Jones J, Mutter R, Hohlbauch A, Whalen D
J Addict Dis. 2020 May 07:1-10.
PMID: 32378481.


Opioid overdose is a national health priority and curbing inappropriate prescribing is critical. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued appropriate prescribing guidelines. Examine associations between care networks defined by shared patients and problematic opioid prescribing. Analysis was at the provider-year level. Social network analysis (SNA) applied to the Medicaid MarketScan Research Database for the years 2010-2015 identified care communities, each community's level of integration (centralization), and each provider's integration (centrality). Nested multivariable logistic regressions controlling for patient mix and provider specialty simultaneously examined the risk of any (incident) and repeated (prevalent) inappropriate prescribing.: Four behaviors defined by the CDC guidelines were examined: (1) more than 90 days continuous supply of high-dose opioid analgesics for chronic pain, (2) overlapping opioid supplies, (3) overlapping opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions, and (4) prescribing an extended release opioid for an acute pain diagnosis. Provider centrality was associated with reduced incidence of outcome (2) (OR: 0.95) and decreased prevalence of outcomes (1), (2), and (3). However, higher incidence (OR: 1.32) and prevalence (OR: 1.027) of outcome (4) were observed. Conversely, centralization associated with decreased incidence of (1) and (2) and lower prevalence of (1), (2), and (3). Greater provider integration is associated with a lower risk of a provider's patients repeatedly having potentially inappropriate prescription fills; however, the association with a provider having any potentially problematic prescription is more ambiguous.