Mayo Clinic study finds opioid prescription rates remain unchanged

Rochestor Minn. (KTTC) – There’s been a lot of attention in recent years on the opioid epidemic and how to curb the over-prescription of painkillers, but a new Mayo Clinic study finds not much is changing. 

The study looked at 48 million U.S. patients. 

For patients with Medicare, it found the opioid prescription rate remained the same over the last five years. 

For people with commercial insurance, it stayed the same over the last decade. 

Researchers didn’t look at why the numbers aren’t changing, but the study’s lead author, Dr. Molly Jeffery, says the results were surprising.

"Particularly in healthcare circles and within healthcare systems and healthcare policies, there’s been a lot of discussion about how we can change this epidemic," she said. "And so we were surprised to see less movement than we expected to see."

Dr. Jeffery says one way to cut down on over-prescription of opioids is better treatments for chronic pain. 

She says patients should talk with their physicians to find the best option for them.

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