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Number of opioid and naloxone prescriptions in the U.S. 2018, by prescriber specialty

Primary care physicians dispensed over 9 million opioid prescriptions in the U.S. in 2018 and around 133,612 naxolone prescriptions. Naxolone is used to block the effects of opioids and is used to treat opioid overdose.

Number of opioid and naloxone prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. in 2018, by prescriber specialty (per 100,000 population)*

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Release date

August 2019


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* High dose opioid prescriptions which are defined ≥50 morphine milligram equivalents per day.

** Primary care includes family practice, general practice, and internal medicine.

*** Pain medicine includes anesthesiology, pain medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation.

^ Other includes clinical pharmacology, dermatology, dermatopathology, genetics, hospice and palliative medicine, medical microbiology, naturopathic doctor, neurology, neurophysiology, nuclear medicine, nutrition, occupational medicine, optometry, otology, pathology, pharmacist, podiatry, psychology, radiology, sports medicine, unspecified, and other. Pharmacists are included among other specialties given their limited ability to prescribe opioids.

^^ Medical subspecialties include allergy, cardiology, cardiovascular, diabetes, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, hepatology, hospitalist, immunology, infectious disease, nephrology, oncology, pulmonary disease, and rheumatology.

^^^ Includes dentists, endodontics, orthodontics, pedodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics. Oral and maxillofacial surgery are classified as surgery.

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