HealthDay News — Opioids prescribed by dentists may pose a threat for interactions with medications for depression or anxiety in older adults, which may increase the risk for emergency visits and hospitalizations, according to a study recently published in Pharmacotherapy.

Jifang Zhou, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues evaluated the use of potentially inappropriate medication combinations (PIMCs) involving opioids prescribed by dentists according to the Beers Criteria and risks for 30-day emergency department visits and all-cause hospitalization among commercially insured older dental patients (≥65 years). The analysis included 40,800 dental visits in which opioids were prescribed (2011 to 2015) identified through the IBM MarketScan databases.

The researchers found that the prevalence of PIMCs per Beers Criteria was 10.4 percent. A total of 947 all-cause acute care events were identified within the 30 days after a dental visit. There were higher rates of acute care use among patients with PIMCs involving opioids prescribed by dentists according to the Beers Criteria, as well as a higher risk for all-cause acute care utilization (adjusted risk ratio, 1.23). There was a dose-response association, with increasing oral morphine equivalents prescribed associated with increased acute care utilization.

“A significant proportion of older patients receiving opioids at dental visits use psychotropic medications that in combination should be avoided according to the American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria,” the authors write.


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