Doctors (and other clinicians) need to know what prescriptions have been given to their patients by other practitioners. This information should be included in the patients’ electronic health care records accessible through a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) that provides immediate information.
Whenever possible, orthopaedic surgeons should request and review old medical records and speak with the patient’s primary physician about past medication problems. Currently, states have Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs designed to assist law enforcement in the identification of doctor shoppers; these data are also accessible to physicians.
The AAOS recommends the following tools, which have been shown to significantly reduce medication errors:
- computerized physician order entry
- computerized decision support systems
- computerized monitoring of adverse drug events
- pharmacist-assisted rounds
- high-risk drug protocols
Overdose deaths are “just the tip of the iceberg”: that for every death there are many more hospital treatment admissions, emergency room visits, people who abuse or are dependent on prescripti…
Effective monitoring systems [PDMPs] will augment clinical judgment, provide evidence of misuse, and facilitate prescription of the most appropriate analgesic for the situation…The Emergency Department is regarded as the nation’s safety net…the last bastion of around-the-clock access to care … Unfortunately, some of the solutions to opioid misuse [limiting ED physicians to 3-day opioid prescriptions] preempts judgments from trained emergency medical providers.
Use of a state PDMP may help identify patients who are at high risk for diversion or doctor shopping… To quantify the effects of PDMPs, studies were conducted of ED providers who cared for adult patients with pain. Of the patients with complete data in one study, information from the state’s PDMP System altered prescribing practice in 41%.
What prescribers can do to safely and effectively use opioids for CNCP (includes the following)
- Screen for prior or current substance abuse/misuse
- Do not use concomitant sedative–hypnotics or benzodiazepines
- Track daily MED using an online dosing calculator
- Use the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to monitor all sources of controlled substances
You’re not only reducing the supply [of pain medications] for those who use them inappropriately, but also for those in need.
The abuse of opioid pain medication has a devastating impact on public health and safety in this country, killing 46 people every day… Prescription Drug poisoning deaths – now over 30,000/yr – outnumber deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
An improved PDMP … with accurate and timely data analysis should be regarded as the cornerstone of our collective efforts to address prescription drug abuse.
Attention to patterns of prescription requests and the prescribing of opioids as part of an ongoing relationship between a patient and a healthcare provider can decrease the risk of diversion. Periodic review of state PDMP, where available, is also a useful tool to monitor compliance. Evaluation should initially include…a drug history… Documentation is essential.