Navigation Links
Study Estimates that 4.3 Million Prescriptions for Painkillers Were Diverted to Illicit Use by "Doctor Shoppers"
Date:7/17/2013

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost one percent of all buyers of addictive pain medications in the U.S. were estimated to be "doctor shoppers" who bought large amounts, presumably for illicit use, according to a study from Abt Associates published today in the journal PLOS ONE.  This is the first national estimate of opioid medications obtained by persons who seek prescriptions for the same drugs from different physicians without telling them about other prescribers. 

One out of every 143 patients who purchased opioid painkillers from retail pharmacies in 2008 received a suspiciously large number of prescriptions from multiple prescribers -- an average of 32 prescriptions from 10 different doctors. 

Although they constituted a small portion of patients prescribed opioids, they purchased an estimated 4.3 million prescriptions, or almost 2 percent of all prescriptions for highly controlled opioids, amounting to about 4 percent of all opioids by weight. 

Abuse of prescription opioids -- commonly known as painkillers -- is linked to rising numbers of overdose deaths and admissions to emergency departments and treatment facilities.  In the absence of adequate patient information systems, individuals can go "doctor shopping" to get excessive quantities of drugs for their own use and abuse as well as for selling to others.  

Researchers Douglas McDonald and Kenneth Carlson of Abt Associates examined a nationwide sample of 146.1 million opioid prescriptions dispensed during 2008 by 76% of U.S. retail pharmacies.

Although getting prescriptions from several different physicians may signal dangerously uncoordinated care rather than fraud, researchers said that most "patients" who get an average of 32 prescriptions from nearly a dozen different doctors in one year are probably deceiving their prescribers rather than receiving badly coordinated care for legitimate medical conditions. 

States have created prescription drug monitoring programs to collect sales records of drugs that pose a high risk of abuse, but many physicians do not access these prescription histories before writing patients' prescriptions.  "Physicians and other healthcare providers are the front lines of defense against deceptive patients who use these drugs for non-medical purposes, but many of them lack the time and the tools to determine if a patient is abusing opioids," said Douglas McDonald, the study's lead author.

The researchers write that physicians could prevent doctor shopping by screening new patients for their risk of abuse and by monitoring patients' adherence to prescribed treatments. Moreover, they recommend that prescription monitoring programs and insurers scan prescription data to flag purchasing patterns indicative of possible doctor shopping and then alert physicians and pharmacists about these patients.   

The study, "Estimating the Prevalence of Opioid Diversion by "Doctor Shoppers" in the United States," was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and is available online at PLOS ONE, http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069241

About Abt Associates 
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators.  The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries. www.abtassociates.com


'/>"/>
SOURCE Abt Associates
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Study Finds Utilizing Integrated Medical and Pharmacy Data Improves Ability to Forecast Use of High-cost Specialty Treatments
2. Study Showed Patients Treated With The miraDry© System Experienced 82 Percent Sweat Reduction On Average
3. Asubio Initiates Landmark Clinical Study in Spinal Cord Injury
4. New Veridex Alliance Drives Study Of Circulating Tumor Cells In Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer
5. Shingles Vaccine is Safe, According to New Study
6. Structural Trends to Profoundly Change Life Sciences Industry, Genpact Study Shows
7. Argos Therapeutics Secures $25 million Series D Financing to Commence Phase 3 ADAPT Study in Patients with Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma (mRCC) in Mid-2012
8. Anthera Announces the Completion of Patient Dosing in Phase 2b PEARL-SC Study
9. Omthera Pharmaceuticals Announces Positive Top-Line Results from Phase 3 EVOLVE Study
10. Accuray Launches First Study to Compare CyberKnife® SBRT to Surgery and IMRT for Treatment of Early-Stage Prostate Cancer
11. Interim results of VITOBA™ (VImpaT® added to One Baseline AED) Study Presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 ... Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any indication, the future is ... online at www.diabetesscholars.org by the Diabetes Scholars ... in the way of academic and community service excellence. ... program since 2012, and continues to advocate for people ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Revolutionary technology includes multi-speaker ... , industry leaders in advanced audiology and hearing aid ... Opn ™, the world,s first internet connected hearing aid ... devices.      (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382240 ) ... of ,world firsts,: , TwinLink™ - the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 The vast majority of dialysis ... facility.  Treatments are usually 3 times a week, with ... including travel time, equipment preparation and wait time.  This ... grueling for patients who are elderly and frail.  Many ... and rehabilitation centers for some duration of time. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... First ... United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell ... facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, ... ... to helping both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented ... for the Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a ... the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who ... , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency to set ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events ... turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. ... tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts ... upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife ... and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):