Opioids After Dental Work May Be Dangerous

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

MONDAY, May 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Getting a prescription for an opioid pain reliever from your dentist could put you or your family at risk of overdosing, a new study warns.

The result is based on an analysis of data from 8.5 million Americans who had their teeth pulled or 119 other types of dental work between 2011 and 2018. All had Medicaid or private dental insurance.

“Our article shows that when patients fill prescriptions for dental opioids, the risk of opioid overdose increases for both themselves and their family members,” said Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, director study, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

“This highlights the importance of avoiding the prescription of dental opioids when non-opioids like ibuprofen [Motrin] and acetaminophen [Tylenol] are effective options for pain control, as is the case with the majority of dental procedures, ”Chua added in a college press release.

Nonetheless, nearly 27% of teens and adults filled a prescription for an opioid pain reliever, such as hydrocodone or oxycodone, and 2,700 opioid overdoses occurred within 90 days of dental procedures, according to the study.


The overall opioid overdose rate was about three per 10,000 dental procedures, according to the report. But the rate was 2.5 times higher in patients who filled an opioid prescription within three days of their procedure than in those who did not (5.8 versus 2.2 per 10,000). .

In 2016 alone, U.S. dentists wrote 11.4 million opioid prescriptions, so the results suggest 1,700 overdoses per year could be associated with dental opioid prescriptions, the authors said. study.

Family members of dental patients who receive opioid prescriptions are also at risk for overdoses, the results showed.

Researchers looked at data from 3.5 million privately insured dental patients and found that 400 family members were treated for opioid overdoses within 90 days of the patient’s procedure.

The rate was 1.7 per 10,000 procedures among family members of privately insured patients who filled opioid prescriptions, compared with 1 per 10,000 procedures among those who did not. Children of patients accounted for 42% of family overdoses, spouses 25%, and the remainder occurred in siblings and parents.


“Our finding of an increased risk of overdose in family members also shows the importance of emphasizing safe storage and disposal when prescribing opioids to dental patients,” said Chua, pediatrician at Michigan Medicine and Health Care Research Research at Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation Research. Center in Ann Arbor.

Lead author of the study, Dr Romesh Nalliah, associate dean of patient services at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, said it was one of the most powerful truths that the team unblocked in their “big data” study on the prescription of dental opioids. “That when a dentist like me prescribes an opioid to a patient, I put their whole family at risk of overdosing,” he said. “Dentists should consider, if the affected family were yours, would you take that risk?”

The study was published online on April 29 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

More information

The National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States has more on prescription opioids.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, press release, April 29, 2021

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