Unsolicited Reporting to Prescribers of Opioid Analgesics by a State Prescription Drug Monitoring Program: An Observational Study with Matched Comparison Group.

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 State prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) can help detect individuals with multiple provider episodes (MPEs; also referred to as doctor/pharmacy shopping), an indicator of prescription drug abuse and/or diversion. Although unsolicited reporting by PDMPs to prescribers of opioid analgesics is thought to be an important practice in reducing MPEs and the potential harm associated with them, evidence of its effectiveness is mixed. This exploratory research evaluates the impact of unsolicited reports sent by Massachusetts' PDMP to the prescribers of persons with MPEs.


 Individuals with MPEs were identified from PDMP records between January 2010 and July 2011 as individuals having Schedule II prescriptions (at least one prescription being an opioid) from four or more distinct prescribers and four or more distinct pharmacies within six months. Based on available MA-PDMP resources, an unsolicited report containing the patient's 12-month prescription history was sent to prescribers of a subset of patients who met the MPE threshold; a comparison group closely matched on demographics and baseline prescription history, whose prescribers were not sent a report, was generated using propensity score matching. The prescription history of each group was examined for 12 months before and after the intervention.


 There were eighty-four patients (intervention group) whose prescribers received an unsolicited report and 504 matched patients (comparison group) whose prescribers were not sent a report. Regression analyses indicated significantly greater decreases in the number of Schedule II opioid prescriptions ( P  < 0.01), number of prescribers visited ( P  < 0.01), number of pharmacies used ( P  < 0.01), dosage units ( P  < 0.01), total days' supply ( P  < 0.01), total morphine milligram equivalents (MME; P  < 0.01), and average daily MME ( P  < 0.05) for the intervention group relative to the comparison group. A post hoc analysis suggested that the observed intervention effects were greater for individuals with an average daily dose of less than 100 MMEs.


 This study suggests that PDMP unsolicited reporting to prescribers can help reduce risk measures in patients' prescription histories, which may improve health outcomes for patients receiving opioid analgesics from multiple providers.

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