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

Medical charity warns India over patent rules

Jan 21, 2015

Doctors without Borders on Wednesday warned the Indian government not to bow to US pressure to amend patent regulations that allow millions access to affordable medicines, ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama.

Why are some generic drugs getting so expensive?

Jan 21, 2015

More than eight out of every 10 prescriptions dispensed in the US is generic. This growth is due to a large number of top-selling drugs going off patent over the past decade, as well as innovations in t ...

Supreme Court sides with Teva in drug dispute

Jan 20, 2015

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in the company's high-profile patent dispute with rival firms over the top-selling multiple sclerosis drug.

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.