Research reported this week in HealthDay, U.S. News and World Report’s e-Newsletter, states that how long a patient takes opioid painkillers after surgery is a much stronger risk factor for addiction and overdose than the dosage of the opioids taken.
An estimated 80 percent of abused controlled substances are obtained by prescription and legally dispensed to the abuser, an abuser’s friend or a family member. In many cases, opioids are obtained through so-called “doctor shopping” — seeing multiple doctors and obtaining a prescription from each.
E-prescribing is moving to the forefront of healthcare IT thanks to the benefits it brings to patients, physician workflow efficiency, and pharmacies. In fact, 90 percent of pharmacies in the United States now accept electronic prescriptions and 70 percent of physicians use e-prescribing, according to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT. With this level of adoption, the industry is well on its way toward enjoying the patient safety, efficiency and cost savings benefits associated with e-prescribing.
A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and posted on their web site highlighted the fact that most U.S. studies of national trends in medical and nonmedical use of prescription opioids have focused on adults. Given the limited understanding in these trends among adolescents, the AAP examined national trends in the medical and nonmedical use of prescription opioids among high school seniors between 1976 and 2015.
A study published by Penn State University revealed that overdose deaths from prescription opioids in the U.S. quadrupled from 1999 to 2015, reaching 22,000 in 2015. This increase has been fueled by a dramatic rise in the amount of opioids being prescribed, creating a vast supply of drugs at high risk for misuse. Prescribers, therefore, are a vital link in addressing the current epidemic of overdose deaths and substance use disorders. The challenge is to develop and implement systems that help prescribers identify potential cases of misuse or diversion, while still allowing appropriate prescribing of opioids for pain control.
What prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) do for our healthcare providers is give them additional insight to help make better decisions in a difficult [medication] situations. PDMP information empowers providers to do what is best for patients.