PQA Endorses Two New Performance Measures to Address Opioid Misuse and Adherence to Therapies to Treat Multiple Sclerosis
The membership of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance has endorsed two new performance measures: Concurrent Use of Opioids and Benzodiazepines and Adherence to Non-Infused Disease Modifying Agents Used to Treat Multiple Sclerosis.
Springfield, VA (January 16, 2017) — The membership of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) has endorsed two new performance measures: (1) Concurrent Use of Opioids and Benzodiazepines; and (2) Adherence to Non-Infused Disease Modifying Agents Used to Treat Multiple Sclerosis.
The first measure examines the percentage of adults 18 years and older receiving both prescription opioids and benzodiazepines for 30 or more cumulative days. Concurrent use of opioids and benzodiazepines, both central nervous system depressants, increases the risk for severe respiratory depression, which can be fatal. These adverse events can occur even in patients that do not exhibit signs of drug abuse. As such, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised clinicians to avoid prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines concurrently whenever possible.
“As the toll in deaths and serious injuries from opioid use and abuse continues to rise, including that due to abuse of prescription opioids and benzodiazepines, it is anticipated that this measure will provide an important tool for health plans and CMS to manage this epidemic,” said Woody Eisenberg, MD, Senior Vice President for PQA.
The second measure assesses the percentage of adults 18 years and older who are adherent at least 80% of the time to their medications used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). The goal of disease-modifying treatment is to reduce the early clinical and sub-clinical disease activity that is thought to contribute to long-term disability.1 “While there is no cure for MS, disease modifying agents clearly decrease the incidence of exacerbations and may slow disease progression. If the patient is non-adherent to their medications, the medication’s effectiveness may be compromised,” said Dr. Eisenberg.
PQA collaborated with Humana Pharmacy Solutions and University of Mississippi Center for Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management to test the Concurrent Use of Opioids and Benzodiazepines measure and with Humana’s Comprehensive Health Insights (CHI) to test the Adherence to Non-Infused Disease Modifying Agents Used to Treat Multiple Sclerosis measure. Testing is a key step in the measure development process, and having several testing partners allows PQA the opportunity to identify how draft measures perform across different health plans — an important step in our measure validation process.
- The Use of Disease Modifying Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis — Principles and Current Evidence. A Consensus Paper by the MS Coalition. Updated July 2016. Available at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/getmedia/5ca284d3- fc7c-4ba5-b005-ab537d495c3c/DMT_Consensus_MS_Coalition_color [Accessed Jan 2017]