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

New system targets germs in donated blood plasma

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A new system designed to eliminate germs in donated blood plasma and reduce the risk of transmitting a plasma-borne infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Judge halts Alzheimer's drug swap until July

Dec 16, 2014

A federal judge has ordered an Irish drug manufacturer to halt its plans to discontinue its widely used Alzheimer's medication, allegedly in an effort to drive patients to a newer patented drug.

India court blocks Bayer generic drug appeal

Dec 13, 2014

An Indian court has rejected German drug giant Bayer's bid to block a generic version of its blockbuster cancer treatment Nexavar by a local drugmaker, a move hailed by activists on Saturday.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.