Monday, April 10, 2017

[Addiction Research] State Drug Monitoring Programs Are Effective

Female doctor review patient files
Patients who are addicted to prescription opioids and desperate for that next high often resort to doctor-shopping to get multiple prescriptions for the same drug. To help combat this practice, 49 states and the District of Columbia have created their own prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). These databases are designed to help providers identify patients who may already have a prescription from another doctor and are high-risk for substance abuse.

But, how effective are PDMPs? One researcher at the UK College of Public Health recently published some initial findings that support the continued use of PDMPs. 

To conduct their analysis, Hefei Wen and her team reviewed data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2011 to 2014. 

The researchers found that residents aren’t prescribed Schedule II opioid painkillers as often in states with more aggressive regulations mandating that providers consult the databases . (One thing to note is that while PDMPs are widely available, they aren’t being used consistently. State laws that govern how providers should use the online databases vary greatly.)

And, those states save a lot of money too. Prescription reimbursements are typically 9 to 10 percent less than states with less restrictive regulatory controls.

Today, providers in Kentucky are bound by some of the strictest rules in the nation in terms of mandatory usage of their database. Doctors are required to register with the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System (KASPER) and check the system each time before submitting new prescriptions and at least once every year after that.

While the opioid epidemic continues to gain steam, researchers are making progress developing new therapies designed to help individuals who are struggling with addiction issues. In addition to that, it’s also important that we continue to take a more proactive approach as well. Preventing the disease of addiction is a powerful tool. The results of this study suggest that the PDMPs can help prevent the accidental overprescribing of painkillers.

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