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Misuse of Pain Medication Draws Heightened Concerns
Date:8/19/2009

le, similar medications, in some instances prescribed by two or more doctors who are unaware that another physician has prescribed a similar drug;
  • instances where members' claims show they may be taking too much of one drug. Excessive quantities of narcotic pain medication may have severe side effects and overdose can result in death;
  • instances where a dependency concern may need attention, which can result in approved coverage of medications for a limited time while the member and his or her physician pursue alternative treatment;
  • instances where a combination of prescribed medications contain doses of acetaminophen, (commonly known as Tylenol). An FDA panel recently made strong recommendations regarding the damaging effects acetaminophen may have on the liver if too much is taken.
  • In any of these circumstances, the member is notified about the unsafe prescription drug use and its potential dangers, with an explanation that changes may have to be made for their pharmacy plan to cover future prescriptions. In certain circumstances, an IBC or FutureScripts medical director will discuss the patient situation with the member's doctor to resolve the matter.

    Dr. Dragoun explained that some of the potential causes for recent increases in prescribing and misuse of pain medications are:

    • members seeing multiple doctors, each of whom prescribe drugs for them, not knowing that similar narcotics are being prescribed by other doctors;
    • an increase in substance abuse and drug dependency issues;
    • acquisition of narcotic drugs or prescriptions for sale to others.

    "Our goal is to put our members' safety first and protect them from the dangers of powerful drugs that may not be taken appropriately," said Paul N. Urick, R.Ph., senior vice president of FutureScripts. He added that while extra precautions help to
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    SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
    Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
    All rights reserved

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