Despite recent declines, opioid prescribing is still high and inconsistent across the United States. The amount of opioids prescribed per person was three times higher in 2015 (640 morphine milligram equivalent [MME]) than in 1999 (180 MME).
Source: Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) of the Drug Enforcement Administration, 1999. QuintilesIMS Transactional Data Warehouse, 2015.
Characteristics of counties with higher opioid prescribing:
To avoid overprescribing opioids, physicians and other health care providers can:
Physicians and other health care providers can find more information at www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/opioids (opens in new window).
Humana Pharmacy Solutions reviews pharmacy claims data2 to identify patients who may be overutilizing opioid prescriptions on a regular basis. Opioid overutilization is based on a morphine equivalent dose exceeding 120 mg for at least 90 consecutive days with more than three providers and more than three pharmacies contributing to opioid claims during the most recent 12 months2. Review is critical in prevention of misuse, abuse and serious adverse events.
1“Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/guideline.html (opens in new window)).
2Humana prescription claims data.