2 percent of opioid rx bought by 0.7 percent of patients

~2 percent of opioid rx bought by 0.7 percent of patients
A small proportion of opioid prescription purchasers (0.7 percent) obtain an average of 32 prescriptions from 10 different prescribers, accounting for 1.9 percent of all opioid prescriptions, according to a study published online July 17 in PLOS ONE.

(HealthDay)—A small proportion of opioid prescription purchasers (0.7 percent) obtain an average of 32 prescriptions from 10 different prescribers, accounting for 1.9 percent of all opioid prescriptions, according to a study published online July 17 in PLOS ONE.

Douglas C. McDonald, Ph.D., and Kenneth E. Carlson, from Abt Associates Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., examined the prevalence of doctor shopping to obtain multiple opioid and the amounts and types of opioids involved. Records were reviewed for 146.1 million opioid prescriptions dispensed by 76 percent of U.S. during 2008. Prescriptions were linked to unique patients.

The researchers found that patients in the extreme outlying population (0.7 percent of purchasers), who were thought to be doctor shoppers, obtained 32 prescriptions for opioids from 10 different prescribers, on average. This group purchased 1.9 percent of all opioid prescriptions, constituting 4 percent of the total weighed amounts that were dispensed.

"To close the information gap that makes doctor shopping and uncoordinated care possible, states have created prescription drug monitoring programs to collect records of scheduled drugs dispensed, but the majority of physicians do not access this information," the authors write. "To facilitate use by busy practitioners, most monitoring programs should improve access and response time, scan prescription data to flag suspicious purchasing patterns, and alert physicians and pharmacists."

The authors are employees of Abt Associates Inc., a commercial scientific research company.

More information: Full Text

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Determine patient preferences by means of conjoint analysis

Jul 29, 2014

The Conjoint Analysis (CA) method is in principle suitable to find out which preferences patients have regarding treatment goals. However, to widely use it in health economic evaluations, some (primarily methodological) issues ...

FDA approves hard-to-abuse narcotic painkiller

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—A new formulation of a powerful narcotic painkiller that discourages potential abusers from snorting or injecting the drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Race affects opioid selection for cancer pain

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Racial disparities exist in the type of opioid prescribed for cancer pain, according to a study published online July 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

FDA approves tough-to-abuse formulation of oxycodone

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Targiniq ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended release) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a long-term, around-the-clock treatment for severe ...

User comments