Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and "pill mill" laws are associated with decreases in prescribing practices among high-volume opioid prescribers, according to a study co-authored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Injury Center. Research findings are published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal article "Impact of prescription drug monitoring programs and pill mill laws on high-volume opioid prescribers: A comparative interrupted time series analysis."
Study authors analyzed IMS Health prescription claims data to evaluate the effect of policy changes in Florida on prescribing behaviors among high-risk prescribers, who are providers in the state’s top 5th percentile of opioid volume prescribed.
Research findings indicated that before the policies were implemented:
- Approximately 4% of providers in Florida were high-risk prescribers, accounting for 67% of total opioid volume and 40% of total opioid prescriptions.
- High-risk prescribers wrote 16 times the number of monthly opioid prescriptions, compared to low-risk prescribers.
Main study findings indicated that after the policies were implemented:
- Among high-risk prescribers, decreases were seen in the number of patients with an opioid prescription, monthly total opioid volume, average morphine equivalent dosage dispensed, and number of opioid prescriptions.
- There was no statistically significant effect on opioid prescribing among low-risk prescribers.
- Despite the decreases, opioid prescribing remained highly concentrated among same high-risk prescribers.
PDMPs and "pill mill" laws help decrease opioid prescribing among high-risk prescribers, but a high concentration of prescribing among these providers remained, suggesting that payer/insurer initiatives and other policy changes that address risky prescribing practices are needed to reduce opioid use, abuse and overdose.
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