Attributes, Attitudes, and Practices of Clinicians Concerned with Opioid Prescribing

Zayd Razouki, Bushra A. Khokhar, Lindsey M. Philpot, Jon O. Ebbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Many clinicians who prescribe opioids for chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) express concerns about opioid misuse, addiction, and physiological dependence. We evaluated the association between the degree of clinician concerns (highly vs less concerned), clinician attributes, other attitudes and beliefs, and opioid prescribing practices. Methods: A web-based survey of clinicians at a multispecialty medical practice. Results: Compared with less concerned clinicians, clinicians highly concerned with opioid misuse, addiction, and physiological dependence were more confident prescribing opioids (risk ratio [RR] = 1.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.08-1.67) but were more reluctant to do so (RR = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.03-1.25). They were more likely to report screening patients for substance use disorder (RR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.01-1.37) and to discontinue prescribing opioids to a patient due to aberrant opioid use behaviors (RR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.13-1.50). They were also less likely to prescribe benzodiazepines and opioids concurrently (RR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.25-0.65). Highly concerned clinicians were more likely to work in clinics which engage in "best practices" for opioid prescribing requiring urine drug screening (RR = 4.65, 95% CI = 2.51-8.61), prescription monitoring program review (RR = 2.90, 95% CI = 1.84-4.56), controlled substance agreements (RR = 4.88, 95% CI = 2.64-9.03), and other practices. Controlling for clinician concern, prescribing practices were also associated with clinician confidence, reluctance, and satisfaction. Conclusions: Highly concerned clinicians are more confident but more reluctant to prescribe opioids. Controlling for clinician concern, confidence in care and reluctance to prescribe opioids were associated with more conservative prescribing practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1934-1941
Number of pages8
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Addiction
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dependence
  • Long-term Opioid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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