Pennsylvania’s Opioid Prescriptions Plunge 38% After State Monitoring Program Implementation

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — A recent study reveals a dramatic 38% drop in opioid prescriptions in Pennsylvania since the implementation of “Prescription Drug Monitoring Program” (PDMP). As the opioid crisis continues to grip the nation, Pennsylvania’s data highlights the significant impact of regulatory measures on curbing opioid abuse, offering a potential model for other states battling similar epidemics.

The study titled “Opioid Prescribing Patterns by Drug Type: The Pennsylvania Experience” examines the changes in opioid prescribing patterns in Pennsylvania from 2016 to 2020 following the implementation of the PDMP. The study was organized by the Rothman Opioid Foundation.

“In 2016, nearly 2 million opioid prescriptions were given to patients across the state. However, by the end of the study period in 2020, there was a 38 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions written,” says Dr. Asif Ilyas, senior author of the study.  He is President of the Rothman Opioid Foundation in Philadelphia, a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University, and an Associate Dean of Clinical Research at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Pennsylvania. Ilyas states that at last during its initial roll out, the PDMP has had an effect in the absolute number of opioids prescribed by Pennsylvania’s prescribers.

This reduction was observed across various types of opioids, with the largest decreases in the prescriptions of hydrocodone and oxycodone in absolute numbers. Despite the overall reduction in prescriptions, the composition of the types of opioids prescribed remained relatively consistent over the study period. Ilyas notes that continued analysis of opioid prescribing across the state as well as improvements to the PDMP is needed to order to maximize the PDMP’s effect to curb prescribing utilization in Pennsylvania.

READ:  Pennsylvania's Opioid Prescriptions Drop 38% Thanks to Monitoring Program

Co-authors of the study include Brock Bakewell, Chaim Miller, and Matthew Sherman.  The study appears in The Journal of Opioid Management, March-April 2023.  A copy of the study can be found at: https://wmpllc.org/ojs/index.php/jom/article/view/3365.

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