Teens and young adults who receive their initial opioid prescriptions from their dentists or oral surgeons are at increased risk for opioid addiction in the following year, a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine has found.
The study, which will be published Dec. 3 in JAMA Internal Medicine, examined opioid use and abuse in a large group of privately insured patients from across the United States. Among nearly 15,000 young people who received initial opioid prescriptions from their dentists in 2015, 6.8 percent had additional opioids prescribed between 90 and 365 days later, and 5.8 percent were diagnosed with opioid abuse during the year after the initial prescription. In a comparison group that did not receive an opioid prescription from their dentists, 0.1 percent got another opioid prescription and 0.4 percent were diagnosed with opioid abuse over the same period.
The researchers began the study to explore the risks of wisdom tooth extraction, a common elective dental surgery in teenagers and young adults. Many patients are prescribed opioids to manage pain after wisdom tooth removal.