Oxycodone Overdose Deaths Drop with PDMP

APRIL 20, 2015
Rachel Lutz
Deaths related to oxycodone overdose dropped 25% in Florida after the state adopted a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to track controlled substance dispensing.

To determine the PDMP’s impact on Florida’s oxycodone-related deaths, which increased 118.3% from 2007 to 2010, researchers from the University of Florida examined the number of queries health care providers made for summaries of controlled substance prescriptions filled for individual patients, and also measured monthly counts of oxycodone deaths obtained from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.

While the introduction of tamper-resistant oxycodone formulations, the closure of illegitimate pain management clinics, and other law enforcement, pharmaceutical, policy, and public health actions all contributed to a decline in oxycodone-caused mortality starting in 2010, the investigators found Florida’s PDMP implementation directly produced an additional 25% decrease in oxycodone deaths.
In fact, oxycodone overdose deaths declined by 0.229 individuals per month for every system-wide increase of 1 PDMP query per health care provider.

“Pharmacists make up a very large proportion of health care professionals using the PDMP. We did not measure their specific contribution to the decline in overdoses, but they had an important role,” lead study author Chris Delcher, PhD, told Pharmacy Times in an e-mail. “Currently, we are trying to understand how to improve coordination between prescribers and dispensers around the use of the PDMP.”

Dr. Delcher, PhD, told Pharmacy Times the study findings, which were published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, have implications for national prescription drug abuse efforts, since 49 states currently have PDMPs of some kind.

“Each state is different, but we have provided some evidence that PDMPs can help prevent at least 1 major outcome of prescription drug abuse: overdoses.” Dr. Delcher said. “Our results provide empirical data for national policy makers trying to decide how to devote resources to this epidemic.”

In addition to accessing the PDMP, community pharmacists and pharmacies in Florida were required to develop policies and procedures to minimize dispensing based on fraudulent prescriptions or invalid practitioner-patient relationships under the provisions of Florida House Bill 7095.

Pharmacists throughout the state must also report to law enforcement any individual who obtains or attempts to obtain a controlled substance through fraudulent methods, and failing to report is considered a first-degree misdemeanor.

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