IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science Releases Report on Opioid Use in U.S.

December 18, 2020
Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Prescription opioid Use in the U.S. has declined by 60% from 2011 Peak, according to new report from IQVIA.

Total national prescription opioid use has declined by 60% from the peak volume in 2011 after another year of double-digit decline that is expected in 2020, according to the latest report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, Prescription Opioid Trends in the United States: Measuring and Understanding Progress in the Opioid Crisis.

Decreases in prescription opioid volume over the past nine years have been driven by changes in clinical use, regulatory and reimbursement policies, and in progressively more restrictive legislation enacted since 2012. The declines have been greatest in the highest doses of prescription opioids — over 90 morphine milligrams equivalents per day — which present the highest risk of opioid use disorder.

The report also draws attention to the risks of co-prescribing benzodiazepines and opioids in the elderly population. About 1.2 million Americans over the age of 65 are estimated to be receiving a combination regimen and therefore at an increased risk of abuse and/or death. This number has declined from about 1.7 million in 2016, a lower rate of decline than seen in under 65 year-olds. A total of about 18 million seniors are using prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, or a combination, representing about 30% of the 59.4 million total Americans receiving these medicines.

Additional key findings from the report include: COVID 19 impact on use of prescription opioids, less opioid prescriptions being paid in cash, and the shifting of research priorities away from the use of opioids for pain management.

The full version of the report, including a detailed description of the study methodology, is available at www.IQVIAInstitute.org.

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