Skip to main content
Toggle Menu of ADA WebSites
ADA Websites
Toggle Search Area
Toggle Menu
e-mail Print Share

Opioid prescriptions by dentists examined in July JADA

July 11, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

Dentists in all states except Missouri can query their state's prescription drug monitoring program to inform their opioid prescribing decisions and potentially guard against the risk for unintentional overdoses or patient drug diversions, authors of the July JADA cover story say.

In "Dental Opioid Prescribing and Multiple Opioid Prescriptions Among Dental Patients: Administrative Data From the South Carolina Prescription Drug Monitoring Program," researchers in South Carolina  examined the types and frequency of opioids prescribed by dentists and the frequency with which dentists prescribed an opioid to a patient with preexisting concurrent opioid prescriptions using data from a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

They found that one of five patients receiving opioid prescriptions from their dentists had at least one preexisting opioid prescription from various providers.

"Best practice recommendations note that opioid analgesics should be reserved for a minority of dental pain management situations in which optimal doses of NSAIDS, acetaminophen or aspirin provide insufficient pain management," said the article's corresponding author, Jenna McCauley, Ph.D. "When prescribing opioids, a prescription drug monitoring program query can provide valuable insight into a patient's coexisting controlled substance prescriptions and assist the dentist in guarding against risks of patient drug diversion or unintentional overdose."

The full article is available at

Other highlights of July JADA include commentary from Dr. Paul Moore, Ph.D., and colleagues that discusses why practitioners still prescribe acetaminophen-opioid combinations to their patients to manage pain when nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are at least as effective; a systematic review related to the prevalence of trigeminal neuralgia; and a video featuring Dr. Moore and JADA Editor Dr. Michael Glick, professor and William M. Feagans chair at the School of Dental Medicine at the State University of New York University at Buffalo, discussing what the ADA, dentists and patients can do to help prevent opioid abuse, and more.

Every month, JADA articles are published online at in advance of print publication. The entire July issue is online now.

In addition to print and online, readers can also access, read, share and search JADA from their phone or tablets. The JADA app is available for all iOS and Android devices through the App Store and Google Play.