Criminal Justice System Involvement High Among Those With Opioid Use Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc   Clinician-Investigator Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute Assistant Professor Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics University of Minnesota

Dr. Winkelman

Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc 
Clinician-Investigator
Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare
Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute
Assistant Professor
Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics
University of Minnesota

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioid overdose deaths continue to escalate, and there have been reports that jails and prisons are bearing the brunt of the opioid epidemic. However, it wasn’t known, nationally, how many people who use opioids were involved in the criminal justice system. We also didn’t have recent estimates of common physical and mental health conditions among people with different levels of opioid use.

We used two years of national survey data to understand these associations, which are critical in developing a public health response to the opioid epidemic.

Continue reading

Fewer US Children Taking Prescription Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Craig M. Hales, MD, MPH, MS CDR, U.S. Public Health Service Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys National Center for Health Statistics Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Hales

Craig M. Hales, MD, MPH, MS
CDR, U.S. Public Health Service
Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys
National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Monitoring trends in prescription medication use among children and adolescents is an important part of understanding the health of youth in the U.S. and the healthcare they receive.

For this study we used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey or NHANES, which is a nationally representative survey of the US population and as part of this face-to-face survey in the home, we ask participants about their prescription medication use in the last 30 days and collect information about the prescription directly from the medication package.

Continue reading

More Opioids Prescribed By Doctors Who Received Free Pharmaceutical Lunches

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Big Lunch Extras Reading” by Big Lunch Extras is licensed under CC BY 2.0Scott E. Hadland, MD, MPH, MS
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics | Boston University School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center
Director of Urban Health & Advocacy Track | Boston Combined Residency Program
Boston, MA 02118

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Numerous pharmaceutical companies have received media attention for their role in promoting opioid prescribing through speaker programs and other marketing plans in which large-value payments are given to a small number of doctors to promote opioids.

In our study, we sought to tell the other side of the story. We wanted to identify whether low-value marketing, including industry-sponsored meals, which are commonplace in the US, were associated with increased opioid prescribing.

We found that 1 in 14 doctors received opioid marketing from pharmaceutical companies in 2014, and those that received marketing prescribed 9% more opioids the following year. With each additional meal a doctor received, he or she prescribed more and more opioids the following year. Our sample included 43% of the active physician workforce in the US, suggesting how widespread and far-reaching this effect might be.

Continue reading

Sinus Infections: Majority of Antibiotic Prescriptions Longer Than Recommended

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra, MD, senior author Deputy Director Office of Antibiotic Stewardship CDC

Dr. Fleming-Dutra

Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra, MD, senior author
Deputy Director
Office of Antibiotic Stewardship
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: As noted in a previous study, antibiotics are prescribed more for sinus infections than any other illness in the United States. We found that almost 70% of antibiotic prescriptions were for 10 days or longer, whereas 5-7 days is recommended for most patients when antibiotics are needed. In addition, more than 20% of antibiotic prescriptions for sinus infections were for 5 days of azithromycin, even though guidelines recommend against prescribing azithromycin for sinus infections. Continue reading

Prescription Opioids Peaked in 2011 and Have Declined Rapidly Since

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brian J. Piper, PhD, MS Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Department of Basic Sciences, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton PA 18509

Dr. Brian Piper

Brian J. Piper, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Department of Basic Sciences,
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine,
Scranton PA 18509 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The US is experiencing an opioid crisis. There were 63,800 drug overdose deaths in 2016 which is three-fold higher than in 1999. Drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl increased 27-fold. Overdoses may even have contributed to decreases in the US lifespan. Emergency Room visits involving opioids have also shown recent increases, particularly in the Southwest and Western US. The US accounts for less than 5% of the world’s population but consumed over two-thirds (69.1%) of the world’s supply of six opioids (fentanyl: 30.1%, methadone: 48.1%, morphine: 51.2%, hydromorphone: 53.0%, oxycodone: 73.1% and hydrocodone: 99.7%) in 2014.

The goal of this study was to examine changes in medical use of ten opioids within the United States, and US Territories, from 2006 to 2016 as reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS). Prior estimates of the Morphine Mg Equivalent (MME), per person in the US (640), although much higher than most other developed countries, may be an underestimate because of a federal regulation (42 CFR Part 2) that prevents reporting methadone from narcotic treatment programs.

We discovered that prescription opioid use peaked in 2011 (389.5 metric ton MMEs) and has been rapidly declining (346.5 in 2016). Relative to 2011, there were decreases in hydrocodone (–28.4%); oxymorphone (–28.0%); fentanyl (–21.4%); morphine (–18.9%); oxycodone (–13.8%); and meperidine (–58.0%). However, there was a pronounced increase in buprenorphine (75.2%). Similar changes were observed from 2015 to 2016 with a statistically significant reduction in all opioids except buprenorphine which was increased. There were substantial geographical variations in rates with a seven fold difference between the highest Morphine Milligram Equivalents in 2016 (Rhode Island = 2,624 mg/person) relative to Puerto Rico (351 mg/person).

Two drugs used in treating an opioid use disorder (methadone and buprenorphine) accounted for over-half (52%) of the total MME in 2016.   Continue reading

Study Finds Patients Equally Likely To Fill Paper vs Electronic Prescriptions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shannon Toohey, MD, MAEd Associate Residency Director, Emergency Medicine Assistant Clinical Professor, Emergency Medicine University of California, Irvine Editor-in-Chief Journal of Education and Teaching in Emergency Medicine

Dr. Toohey

Shannon Toohey, MD, MAEd
Associate Residency Director, Emergency Medicine
Assistant Clinical Professor, Emergency Medicine
University of California, Irvine
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Education and Teaching in Emergency Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions) are now the predominant form of prescription used in the US. Concern has been raised that this form of prescription may be more difficult for emergency department (ED) patients to utilize than traditional printed prescriptions, given the unplanned nature of most ED visits at all times of day.

While there are disincentives for physicians who choose not to use them, many emergency physicians are still concerned that it could decrease compliance in their patients.
This study evaluated prescription compliance in insured patients at a single center. In our studied population, we found that patients were as equally likely to fill paper and e-Prescriptions.

Continue reading

State ACA Expansions Linked To Large Increase In Prescription Drugs Paid For By Medicaid

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin D. Sommers, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Health Policy & Economics
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health / Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02115 and
Kosali Simon PhD
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prescription drugs are considered a high value form of medical care, and can be especially difficult for the uninsured to access. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion represents an unprecedented expansion of insurance to low-income non-disabled adults, and our study is the first to examine the effects on prescription utilization in detail.

Continue reading

New Oral Hepatitis C Virus Treatment Works But Will Cost Billions

Jagpreet Chhatwal Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services Research Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences The University of Texas MD Anderson Center Houston, TXMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jagpreet Chhatwal Ph.D
.
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services Research
Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
The University of Texas MD Anderson Center
Houston, TX

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Chhatwal: More than two million people in the U.S. are infected with Hepatitis C (HCV), a virus found in the liver. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force both recommended a one-time hepatitis C screening for baby boomers – people born between the years 1946 and 1964. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the medications sofosbuvir and ledipasvir for Hepatitis C treatment. The newly approved oral regimen comes at a staggering price to payers – as much as $1,125 per day. As a result, several payers have questioned if the price is justified.

The study results show that using new therapies is cost-effective in the majority of patients. However, the budget required to treat all eligible patients would be $136 billion over the next five years. Compared with the old drugs, new therapies would cost an additional $65 billion, whereas the cost offsets would be only $16 billion.

Continue reading

Why Do Some Patients Fail To Get Their Prescriptions Filled?

Robyn Tamblyn BScN Msc PhD James McGill Chair Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics McGill University Scientific Director Institute of Health Services and Policy Research Canadian Institutes of Health Research MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Robyn Tamblyn BScN Msc PhD
James McGill Chair
Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics
McGill University and Scientific Director
Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Tamblyn: Higher drug costs are associated with a higher probability of primary non-adherence, whereas better follow-up by the prescribing physician, and a policy to provide medication at no cost for the very poor increase the likelihood of adherence

Continue reading