A Randomized Trial Looking at Planning Prompts to Reduce Opioid Prescribing


Prior work has demonstrated that personalized letters are effective at reducing opioid and benzodiazepine prescribing, but it is unclear whether If/when-then planning prompts would enhance this effect. We conducted a decedent-clustered trial which randomized 541 clinicians in Los Angeles County to receive a standard (n = 284), or comparator (n = 257) version of a letter with If/when-then prompts. We found a significant 12.85% (6.83%, 18.49%) and 8.32% (2.34%, 13.93%) decrease in the primary outcomes morphine (MME) and diazepam milligram equivalents (DME), respectively. This study confirms the benefit of planning prompts, and repeat letter exposure among clinicians with poor patient outcomes. Limitations include lack of generalizability and small sample size. Clinicaltrials.gov registration: NCT03856593.

The full study can be viewed at Nature Communications.

Doctor, J. N., Kelley, M. A., Goldstein, N. J., Lucas, J., Knight, T., & Stewart, E. P. (2024). A randomized trial looking at planning prompts to reduce opioid prescribing. Nature Communications, 15(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-44573-5

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