When Docs Review Drug History, Abuse Decreases Among Medicare Recipients

(Summer 2017) States that mandate physicians look into their patients’ prior drug history in a prescription drug monitoring database have seen a decrease in opioid abuse among their residents on Medicare. These states have also seen a reduction in the amount of Medicare patients who received in excess of seven months’ worth of opioids in a six-month time frame, as well as fewer patients who filled a prescription before depleting their current one. Additionally, they saw “doctor-shopping” recede by 8% in Medicare recipients with opioid prescriptions. States with the greatest improvement in opioid abuse were those with the most stringent laws.


Although all U.S. states have databases to record the prescription of opioids, it is not a nationwide law that doctors consult the databases prior to issuing a prescription.


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