By Scott LaNeve

October 31, 2019

Monitoring patients for signs of opioid misuse helps healthcare providers intervene early to prevent addiction and overdose. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and most states call for regular monitoring of the 32 million patients who are prescribed opioid therapy, yet 30% of patients with aberrant drug-taking behaviors are never identified.1

A majority of guidelines include regular prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) checks and toxicology testing, but adding monitoring tasks to the prescribing workflow can be complicated and time consuming for healthcare providers. Today the PDMP is checked only 25 percent of the time before prescribing an opioid, even when many guidelines call for checking every time an opioid is prescribed.2

Providers strictly adhering to prescribing guidelines in one Indiana health system saw a 40 percent reduction in aberrant drug-taking behavior.3 At this rate, more than 1,000,000 patients currently misusing opioids would be identified if guidelines were followed just 20 percent more than they are today.

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References

  1. Owen, Graves & Burton, Allen & Schade, Cristy& Passik, Steve. (2012). Urine Drug Testing: Current Recommendations and Best Practices. Pain physician. 15. ES119-33.
  2. Rutkow, L., Turner, L., Lucas, E., et al. (2015 Mar). Most Primary Care Physicians Are Aware Of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, But Many Find The Data Difficult To Access. Health Affairs. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/pdf/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1085
  3. National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Prescription Drug Use and Misuse in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA, Arthur Hughes, Matthew R. Williams, Rachel N. Lipari, and Jonaki Bose; RTI International: Elizabeth A. P. Copello and Larry A. Kroutil, September 2016.
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