DESIGN, SETTING, AND SUBJECTS:
The IMS Health National Prescription Audit (NPA) database was used to obtain prescription data from US retail pharmacies between 2013 and 2014.
Our study compared noninjectable opioid dispensing between two time periods: January-June 2013 and July-December 2014. Opioid prescription data were obtained nationally and in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. Institutional prescription data were supplied by Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) and University of Vermont MedicalCenter (UVMC) pharmacies.
There was a 3.4% (P = 0.81) decrease in opioid prescriptions filled nationally. Among New England states, opioid prescribing decreased in Maine (-5.20%, P = 0.72), Massachusetts (-4.4%, P = 0.78), and Vermont (-2.2%, P = 0.89) but increased in New Hampshire by 1.3% (P = 0.94). Examination of local institutional opioid utilization revealed a 13.6% decline in prescriptions filled at UVMC, and only a 0.4% decrease at DHMC.
The review of opioid prescriptions filled in 2013-14 suggests that national opioid utilization may be reaching a plateau. Initiatives such as prescription monitoring programs, prescriber opioid education, addiction treatment programs, public addiction awareness, and availability of medical cannabis may play a role in interstate variability of opioid use. National and regional data served as a benchmark for local institutional comparison, laying groundwork for efforts to explore areas where opioids can be prescribed more judiciously.
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Medical Marijuana; National Prescription Audit; Opioid Abuse; Opioid Trends; Prescription Drug Monitoring Program