Opioid prescriptions decline for 5th year, AMA study finds

For the fifth consecutive year, the number and strength of opioids prescribed has declined, according to the American Medical Association's 2019 Opioid Task Force Progress Report.

Six key findings:

1. Opioid prescriptions decreased 33 percent between 2013 and 2018. Between 2017 and 2018, prescription rates fell 12.4 percent.

2. Additionally, the strength of opioid prescriptions has also declined. In 2018, the opioid total morphine milligram equivalents dropped 17.1 percent.

3. Nearly 2 million physicians and prescribers are registered to use prescription drug monitoring programs, up 290 percent from 2014. This shows that more physicians are using these programs than ever before.

4. More than 460 million PDMP queries were submitted in 2018, a 56 percent increase from 2017.

5. Prescriptions of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone also reached a record high in 2018, with more than 598,000 prescriptions filled. This is a 107 percent increase from 2017.

6. "Progress has been made, but much more work remains. It is time for states to end prior authorization and other barriers to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder; and time for payers, PBMs and pharmacy chains to re-evaluate all policies restricting access to evidence-based care for pain and substance use disorders," said AMA President-elect Patrice Harris, MD, in a news release.  

Find the full report here.

More articles on opioids:
KLAS: Prescription intelligence software helps improve opioid prescribing practices
Majority of cancer surgery patients discharged without opioids with new pain management protocol, study finds
Georgia officials partner with Appriss Health to integrate PDMP into EHRs

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