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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

The battle against prescription drug abuse continues, with the closing of “pills mills,” limiting refills, and making it difficult to “doctor shop” through prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs); many wonder how successful the fight has been and whether or not doctors are taking advantage of PDMP’s? The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocate the use of prescription drug monitoring systems.

Researchers from Oregon Health and Sciences University surveyed doctors in Oregon who are registered to use their PDMP, in order to find out the differences between doctors who use the program and those who do not, according to NewsWise.

The survey randomly sampled 650 high frequency PDMP users, 650 low frequency users, and 2,000 non-users, from a database of more than 22,000 clinicians.

The research indicated that 95 percent of doctors registered say they consult the PDMP when they suspect a patient is abusing or diverting medication. Out the doctors registered, 54 percent of doctors reported that they made mental health or substance abuse referrals after consulting it, and 36 percent said they sometimes discharge patients from their practices as a result of PDMP use. Less than half of doctors check the PDMP for every new patient or every time they prescribe a controlled drug. Almost all doctors who use the program say they discuss worrisome data with patients.

Researchers point out that the registered users of the state’s database prescribed controlled substances more frequently than doctors who did not use the PDMP, according to the article.

“Clinicians reported frequent patient denial or anger and only occasional requests for help with drug dependence,” the researchers report in The Journal of Pain.

The findings are published in the peer-reviewed publication of the American Pain Society, The Journal of Pain.

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