Climbing The Screen

Photo taken 7/15/2015.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs – Much Promise But Limited Progress

http://brainblogger.com/2015/03/22/prescription-drug-monitoring-programs-much-promise-but-limited-progress/

Fundamentally, a PDMP is a central repository of prescribing and dispensing records pertaining to medications classified as scheduled, controlled substances by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, but a PDMP may include any drug/substance of interest or determined to have abuse potential.

These days, the information is stored in online electronic databases allowing easy access to authorized individuals or agencies, such as law enforcement and drug control agencies, practitioner licensure boards, medical examiners, drug courts and criminal diversion programs, addiction treatment programs, public and private third-party payers, medication dispensers (e.g., pharmacies) and prescribers, and other healthcare providers. States vary widely in which categories of users are permitted to request and receive prescription history reports and under what conditions.

Individual state PDMPs also differ as to required prescribing information — such as, drugs of interest, dose/quantity, date dispensed, and dispenser, prescriber, and patient information, etc. — and time of entry into the database. Only one state, Oklahoma, collects data in real time — that is, at the same time that a prescription is filled — whereas, most states allow up to a week or longer for submission of data to the PDMP…

Beyond 1990, and with support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), PDMP administrators formed an alliance for mutual support and information exchange, and to help promote expansion of PDMPs to other states. At this time, PDMPs also started to extend data collection beyond Schedule II drugs; although, each state was free to select the drugs included. This also marked a new generation of PDMPs using electronic technology for prescription information collection, largely abandoning the need for serialized prescription forms…

Continued interest at the federal level, and focusing on reducing opioid-related problems, resulted in various economic support programs; e.g., Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Grants and the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) Act. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance helped to form PDMP assistance and training programs with a special emphasis on evidence-based practices. Through the years, other government agencies (e.g., ONDCP, CDC, etc.) and private industry (Purdue Pharma) provided additional assistance and support for program development.

According to the most current information, by the end of 2014 all 50 states and the District of Columbia (Washington DC) had or were nearing realization of a PDMP…

As a newly added concern, the recent hacking of online, electronic databases threatens the integrity of PDMP programs and the security of confidential patient information…

Ideally, PDMP reports would include data on all prescription medications, beyond just CII opioids, but most PDMPs are not designed to capture such extensive information…

Furthermore, while it is claimed that PDMPs do not infringe on the legitimate prescribing of controlled substances and simply make it possible to spot potential problems in patients deserving a closer look, an end result often has been a “chilling effect” on the prescribing of opioids overall…

Several dozen published and unpublished empirical studies on PDMP effectiveness have been summarized in the Pew report, which more than anything points to the difficulties of such investigations. At best, studies have been observational in nature, but most have been case reports of select aspects of PDMPs (e.g., increases in user satisfaction); the vast majority of studies reported favorable outcomes related to PDMP applications and practices. It is important to note, however, that none of the studies were of high quality and none examined improvements in patient care or health outcomes as a result of PDMP implementation and use.

The few broader-scope comparisons of all states with versus states without PDMP programs did not show outcomes favoring PDMPs. For example, an observational study by Paulozzi, Jones, et al. (2011) of early program effectiveness, spanning 1999 through 2005, found that states with PDMPs demonstrated unfavorably increased trends in drug overdoses and mortality, along with significantly greater consumption of hydrocodone. Interestingly, the only states showing improvements in overdose deaths and opioid consumption at the time included 3 states with PDMPs still using special prescription forms rather than newer electronic approaches. This suggested there were many challenges still to be overcome in developing electronic PDMPs and, while it cannot be stated that PDMPs themselves caused negative outcomes, the researchers concluded that, “…it can be said unequivocally that PDMP states did not do any better than the non-PDMP states in controlling the rise in drug overdose mortality.” …

Prescribers have not widely embraced the use of PDMPs, even though there could be some advantages of PDMPs for patient care. For example, a comprehensive and accurate history of pharmacotherapy-management is essential for clinical evaluation of a new patient with chronic pain. While reliance on the patient’s self-reported history is generally considered acceptable, it may lead to dangerous misprescribing. A PDMP might help to identify patients who are receiving multiple legitimate prescriptions for opioids or benzodiazepines, from different healthcare providers, and are at risk for complications from polypharmacy — but only if the PDMP tracks more than class CII opioids…

In states with PDMPs administered by law enforcement agencies, usage by healthcare providers was lower than in states with PDMPs managed by health or pharmacy boards.

In a recent survey of PDMP users in Oregon, almost all (95%) reported accessing the database when they suspected drug abuse or diversion in a patient, but fewer than half checked it routinely for every new patient or every time they prescribed a controlled drug. Clinicians also reported a variety of problems that arose when a PDMP report included “worrisome” information: patients often reacted with anger or denial (at least 88% reacted this way sometimes); nearly three-quarters of clinicians (73%) said that those patients sometimes did not return; less than a quarter (22%) reported that the confronted patients asked for help with drug addiction or dependence problems…