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What is the impact of an opioid prescribing guideline for dentists in Ontario?

Source Article: Assessing the impact of an opioid prescribing guideline for dentists in Ontario, Canada

What is the study about?

The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario introduced a new dental opioid prescribing guideline in November 2015. The authors examined whether introduction of this guideline was associated with changes in opioid prescribing patterns.

The authors conducted a population-based, cross-sectional time series study of Ontarians who received opioids prescribed by dentists from July 1, 2012 through September 30, 2017.

They examined the impact of the guideline on dental prescribing patterns by calculating the monthly rate of opioid dispensing from dentists per 100,000 population, as well as the population exposure to opioids expressed as milligram morphine equivalents per 100 population.


How was the study designed?

What are the findings of the study?

There was no change in the rate of opioid prescribing by dentists associated with the introduction of the prescribing guideline. However, the introduction of the guideline was associated with a roughly 25% reduction in the volume of opioids prescribed.

Although the overall volume of opioids dispensed to dental patients in Ontario decreased significantly after the release of the opioid prescribing guideline by the RCDSO, there was no observed impact on the rate of opioid prescribing.

More than 2 in 5 prescriptions continued to include quantities exceeding guideline recommendations in the 22 months after the document’s release.

In combining the findings from this study with an understanding of risks associated with the initial dental opioid prescriptions, a potential benefit could result from revising the guideline recommendations and improving their dissemination to dentists to promote evidence-informed dental opioid prescribing across Ontario.


What does it mean for you?

Source Article: Qi Guan, Tonya Campbell, Diana Martins, Mina Tadrous, David Juurlink, J. Michael Paterson, Muhammad Mamdani, David Mock, Tara Gomes, Assessing the impact of an opioid prescribing guideline for dentists in Ontario, Canada, The Journal of the American Dental Association, Volume 151, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 43-50,
ISSN 0002-8177,

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