New Study Shows Risk of Long-Term Opiate Use Nearly Triples Following Removal of Wisdom Teeth

New Study Shows Risk of Long-Term Opiate Use Nearly Triples Following Removal of Wisdom Teeth

A recent study conducted at the University of Michigan found that people who take opioids after having their wisdom teeth removed are nearly three times as likely to have another opioid prescription filled in the following year compared to their peers.

Researchers dug into the information of 70,942 patients between the ages of 13 and 30 with private employer-based insurance who had their wisdom teeth removed between 2009 and 2015, but had not filled a prescription for opioids in the six month leading up to their dental procedure. The data showed that the patients who filled a prescription immediately after or just before their procedure were 2.7 times as likely as their peers to continue filling their prescription over the next year.

"We now see that a sizable number go on to fill opioid prescriptions long after we would expect they would need for recovery, and the main predictor of persistent use is whether or not they fill that initial prescription," said Calista Harbaugh, a research fellow with the Michigan Opioid Prescribing and Engagement Network.

The researchers found that 1.3 percent of the 56,686 patients who filled an opioid prescription continued to use opioids, compared to the 0.5 percent of the 14,256 who didn’t fill an opioid prescription. They also found that patients in their late teens and early 20s continued to use opioids after that initial prescription more often than the younger patients. Those with chronic pain, anxiety, and/or depression were also more likely to continue using opioids.

While researchers were unable to determine whether patients or other people misused leftover drugs and did not have information behind the reasons for additional prescriptions, they still noted the potential danger and abuse of these drugs. They recommended that surgeons and dentists prescribe non-opioid painkillers instead of the more powerful and addictive versions, and if opioids were necessary that they should prescribe less than the seven-day supply currently recommended by the American Dental Association.

Opioid addiction is a massive issue millions of Americans face every year, and the problem is only getting worse. If you or a loved one are looking to take the next step towards a sober future, our staff here at Novus Detox Medical Centers is ready to provide you the professional help you need. Give us a call at (855) 464-8550 today to discuss your treatment options and learn more about the services we provide at our two facilities, located in Tampa Bay and West Palm Beach.

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