Opioid prescription by gynecologic oncologists: An analysis of Medicare Part D claims

David Samuel, Nicole S. Nevadunsky, Devin T. Miller, Sara Isani, Dennis Y.S. Kuo, Gregory M. Gressel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The use of opioids across all specialties has increased greatly over the last 2 decades and along with it, opioid misuse, overdose and death. The contribution of opioids prescribed for gynecologic cancers to this problem is unknown. Data from other surgical specialties show prescriber factors including gender, geographic location, board certification, experience, and fellowship training influence opioid prescribing. To characterize national-level opioid prescription patterns among gynecologic oncologists treating Medicare beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services database was used to access Medicare Part D opioid claims prescribed by gynecologic oncologists in 2016. Prescription and prescriber characteristics were recorded including medication type, prescription length, number of claims, and total day supply. Region of practice was determined according to the US Census Bureau Regions. Board certification data were obtained from American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology website. Bivariate statistical analysis and linear regression modeling were performed using Stata version 14.2. In 2016, 494 board-certified US gynecologic oncologists wrote 24,716 opioid prescriptions for a total 267,824 days of treatment (median 8 [interquartile range {IQR} 6, 11] prescribed days per claim). Gynecologic oncologists had a median of 33 opioid claims (IQR 18, 64). Male physicians had significantly more opioid prescription claims than females (P < 0.01) including after adjustment for differences in years of experience. There was no difference in prescribed days per claim between male and female physicians. Physicians in the South had the greatest number of opioid prescription claims and significantly more than physicians in all other regions (P < 0.01). Gynecologic oncologists who were board certified for >15 years had a greater number of median opioid claims (28 IQR 16, 50) than those with <5 years since board certification (22 IQR 15, 38) (P= 0.04). Physicians who were board certified in palliative care (n = 19) had significantly more opioids claims (median 40; IQR 18, 91) than those without (median 32; IQR 18, 64) (P< 0.01). In 2016, there were gender-based, regional, and experience-related variations in opioid prescribing by providers caring for Medicare-insured patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100655
JournalCurrent Problems in Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services
  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Medicare Part D
  • Opioid
  • Opioid claim
  • Opioid epidemic
  • Opioid prescription
  • Palliative care
  • Prescriber demographics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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