OBJECTIVE: To examine opioid prescribing frequency and trends to Medicare Part D enrollees from 2013 to 2017 by medical specialty and provider type. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional, specialty- and provider-level analysis of Medicare Part D prescriber data for opioid claims from 2013 to 2017. We analyzed opioid claims and prescribing trends for specialties accounting for ≥1% of all opioid claims. RESULTS: From 2013 to 2017, pain management providers increased Medicare Part D opioid claims by 27.3% to 1,140 mean claims per provider in 2017; physical medicine and rehabilitation providers increased opioid claims 16.9% to 511 mean claims per provider in 2017. Every other medical specialty decreased opioid claims over this period, with emergency medicine (-19.9%) and orthopedic surgery (-16.0%) dropping opioid claims more than any specialty. Physicians overall decreased opioid claims per provider by -5.2%. Meanwhile, opioid claims among both dentists (+5.6%) and nonphysician providers (+10.2%) increased during this period. CONCLUSIONS: From 2013 to 2017, pain management and PMR increased opioid claims to Medicare Part D enrollees, whereas physicians in every other specialty decreased opioid prescribing. Dentists and nonphysician providers also increased opioid prescribing. Overall, opioid claims to Medicare Part D enrollees decreased and continue to drop at faster rates.
- Chronic Pain
- Pain Management
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine