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Attending Physicians, Residents Similar in Opioid Rx Monitoring

Residents provide more early refills; also see more patients at higher misuse risk

MONDAY, April 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Both residents and attending physicians are only partly compliant with national opioid prescribing and monitoring guidelines, according to a study published in the March issue of Pain Medicine.

Laila Khalid, M.D., from the Boston Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed electronic medical record data from primary care clinic visits by patients (aged 18 to 89 years) who were prescribed long-term opioid treatment for chronic noncancer pain. Adherence to two American Pain Society Guidelines -- either documentation of at least one opioid agreement (contract) ever or any urine drug test in the past year -- were the primary outcomes of interest.

The researchers found that similar proportions of patients of residents and attending physicians had a controlled substance agreement (45.1 percent of resident patients and 42.4 percent of attending physician patients; P = 0.47) or urine drug testing (58.6 and 63.6 percent, respectively; P = 0.16). Compared to attending physician patients, resident patients were more likely to have two or more early refills in the past year (42.8 versus 32.5 percent; P = 0.004).

"With some variability, residents and attending physicians were only partly compliant with national guidelines," the authors write.

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