A recent study by physicians at Boston Medical Center indicated almost all those who overdose on prescription opioids, continue to receive subsequent prescriptions for the same painkillers.
Researchers used a national commercial insurance claims database, to conduct the study. They reported almost 3,000 patients experienced a non-fatal overdose between 2000 and 2012 while taking prescription opioids.
The data showed that over 90% of those patients that overdosed continued to receive prescription opioids after overdosing. And more than half of those patients continued to get their prescription from the same doctor.
In some cases, doctors don’t even know when their patient has overdosed on the opioids they prescribed. Patients who misuse their prescriptions are unlikely to report abusing drugs and their overdose to their primary care physician because they are afraid their provider will terminate their prescriptions.
In the study, researchers also found that of the original group that experienced overdoses, 7% went on to overdose a second time. They also found that two years after the initial overdose, those patients that still had a prescription for the drug they overdosed on, were twice as likely to experience a second overdose than those whose prescriptions were stopped. And the higher the dosage of the drug, the higher the risk of a second overdose for patients who already suffered one previously.
Research shows the prescription drug overdose epidemic is a growing problem across the country. There is no single solution to fight the issue but many working in the health care filed are trying to solve the problem.
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection came up with possible solutions to help curb the epidemic. They include safe prescribing practices by providers and changing state policies across the U.S. to prevent prescription misuse, abuse, and overdose. The use of state prescription drug monitoring programs is also an option to give health care providers information to improve patient safety and protect patients. This is a multi-faceted problem which must be addressed on multiple fronts. KeyScripts offers the clinical expertise and industry experience which allows our customers to stay informed of trends and can assist in the appropriate handling of confounding claims. We work together to create key solutions to the industry issues that are most relevant to you.