Attitudes, beliefs, practices, and concerns among clinicians prescribing opioids in a large academic institution

Jon O. Ebbert, Lindsey M. Philpot, Casey M. Clements, Jenna K. Lovely, Wayne T. Nicholson, Sarah M. Jenkins, Tim J. Lamer, Halena M. Gazelka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives. Opioid treatment of chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) adds complexity and uncertainty to patient interactions. We sought to assess clinician attitudes, beliefs, practice styles, and concerns around opioid prescribing following the release of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Methods. E-mailed electronic survey to clinicians at a large academic medical institution. Results. A total of 961 clinicians responded to the survey (response rate = 40%), 720 of whom prescribed opioids and were not in training. Sixty-five percent were physicians, and 35% were nurse practitioners or physician assistants, with a mean age of 47 years (SD±11.4 years). Eighty-two percent were reluctant to prescribe opioids for CNCP, and only 47% expressed confidence in their care for CNCP patients. Sixty-seven percent were aware of the CDC guideline, 55% were enrolled in the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), and 2% always or frequently prescribed naloxone to patients on opioids. Guideline awareness was associated with increased confidence in caring for CNCP patients. Clinicians having knowledge of a patient overdose were 31% more likely to be enrolled in the PDMP (relative rate51.31, 95% confidence interval = 1.14-1.52, chi-square = 11.00, P<0.01). Clinicians who knew of a patient overdose event were also more likely to express concern about patient opioid dependence and addiction. Conclusions. Opportunities exist to increase awareness of the CDC guideline and to increase clinician confidence in opioid prescribing. Knowledge of an overdose event may influence clinician behavior and concerns about dependence and addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1790-1798
Number of pages9
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Chronic Pain
  • Opioids
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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