Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Are Associated With Sustained Reductions In Opioid Prescribing By Physicians
Author: Yuhua Bao, Yijun Pan, Aryn Taylor, Sharmini Radakrishnan, Feijun Luo, Harold Alan Pincus, Bruce R. Schackman
State prescription drug monitoring programs are promising tools to rein in the epidemic of prescription opioid overdose. We used data from a national survey to assess the effects of these programs on the prescribing of opioid analgesics and other pain medications in ambulatory care settings at the point of care in twenty-four states from 2001 to 2010. We found that the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program was associated with more than a 30 percent reduction in the rate of prescribing of Schedule II opioids. This reduction was seen immediately following the launch of the program and was maintained in the second and third years afterward. Effects on overall opioid prescribing and prescribing of non-opioid analgesics were limited. Increased use of these programs and the adoption of new policies and practices governing their use may have contributed to sustained effectiveness. Future studies are needed to evaluate the policies’ comparative effectiveness.