Dispensed Opioid Prescription Patterns, by Racial/Ethnic Groups, Among South Carolina Medicaid-Funded Children Experiencing Limb Fracture Injuries

Published:March 04, 2022DOI:



      To examine dispensed opioid prescription patterns for limb fractures across racial/ethnic groups in a pediatric population.


      We used South Carolina's Medicaid claims data 2000 to 2018 for pediatric limb fracture cases (under age 19) discharged from the emergency department. The key independent variable was the child's race/ethnicity. The outcomes were: 1) whether the patient had a dispensed opioid prescription; and 2) whether dispensed opioid supply was longer than 5 days among cases with any dispensed opioid prescriptions. Logistic regression models were used to test the association between race/ethnicity and the outcomes. Covariates included age-at-service, gender, service year, and having multiple fracture injuries.


      Compared with non-Hispanic White cases (NHW), the odds of receiving dispensed opioid prescriptions were lower for cases of non-Hispanic Black (NHB) (OR = 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.71, 0.75), Asian (OR = 0.69; CI: 0.53, 0.90), Other/Unknown (OR = 0.86; CI: 0.80, 0.92), and Hispanic (OR = 0.84; CI: 0.79, 0.90) race/ethnicity. The odds of receiving >5 days of dispensed opioid prescription supply did not differ significantly among race/ethnic categories.


      Our study confirms previous findings that as compared to NHW, the NHB children were less likely to receive dispensed opioid prescriptions. Also, it reveals that the different minority race/ethnic groups are not homogenous in their likelihoods of receiving dispensed opioid prescriptions after a limb fracture compared to NHW, findings underreported in previous studies. Children in the Other/Unknown race/ethnicity category have prescribing patterns different from those of other minority race/ethnic groups and should be analyzed separately.


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