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Uncoordinated prescription opioid use, a risk to Michigan patients

Looking down on a hand holding an open bottle of prescription drugs.
Sharyn Morrow
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has a growing problem with what's called "uncoordinated prescription opioid use," and it's putting hundreds of patients at risk.

“In Michigan we went from 81 deaths in 1999 to 519 deaths in 2013 from opioids,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.

A new report from CHRT finds that most opioids are used and prescribed appropriately, but a small number of patients receive numerous prescriptions from separate prescribers within a short period of time.

“In 2013, over 600 privately insured patients in Michigan had filled at least 10 opioid prescriptions from four or more providers in more than three months,” said Udow-Phillips.

Udow-Phillips says there is a statewide database physicians can check to see if patients have filled another prescription. She says it needs to be made easier and quicker to use.

Here are some key findings:

·         In 2013, more than 600 privately insured Michigan patients in CHRT’s study had uncoordinated opioid prescriptions, defined as filling at least 10 opioid prescriptions from four or more providers within three months.

·         In CHRT’s study, those 600 patients represent just 0.3% of all patients using opioids, but were often more seriously ill.

·         Over 60% of patients with uncoordinated opioid prescriptions were diagnosed with cancer, trauma, or palliative care in 2013.

·         Accidental overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription drugs and heroin) increased sixfold in Michigan between 1999 and 2013 (from 81 to 519 deaths).

·         Accidental overdose deaths involving prescription opioids represented 43% of total opioid deaths in 2013.

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