Safer Opioid Prescribing: Express Scripts Significantly Reduces Inappropriate Selection and Excessive Dispensing of Opioids for New Patients
In the first 90 days since the program began on
In addition, the program's utilization management protocols ensured:
- Nearly 96 percent of patients prescribed an opioid for the first time started with a 7-day supply or less;
- Approximately 87% of patients prescribed opioids for the first time who were prescribed a long-acting opioid as initial therapy were redirected to safer, short-acting formulations.
"In just the first 90 days of the program, we have demonstrated our ability to help our plans address the national opioid epidemic by promoting greater compliance with CDC guidelines and significantly reducing excessive and inappropriate opioid prescribing," said
As part of the Advanced Opioid Management program, Express Scripts Therapeutic Resource Center® (TRC) pharmacists provide proactive counseling on safe opioid use during calls with first-time opioid patients that last an average of 20-30 minutes in the comfort and privacy of the patient's own home. To date, the program also has sent thousands of educational letters and safe disposal bags to patients who received an opioid prescription, and thousands of alerts to prescribers when a patient has accumulated an unsafe amount of opioid medication.
"As parents who lost a child to an overdose, we cannot express enough the importance of reducing excess medication in our homes while increasing the amount of patient education that takes place when opioids are prescribed," said
Comprehensive, Proactive Approach to Safer Opioid Use
Express Scripts Advanced Opioid Management is based on CDC prescribing guidelines and was pilot-tested in
Working across the care continuum, the program shields patients and payers by minimizing early opioid exposure, helping to prevent progression to overuse or abuse, and encouraging the safe disposal of unused medications.
Because the opioid epidemic is such a complex issue, effectuating change requires addressing all parties that influence opioid decisions.
- The patient, with whom we provide additional care and support to educate about safety concerns and proper disposal of medication;
- The pharmacy, where our clinical edits mandate responsible dispensing in all pharmacy channels; and
- The doctor's office, where we alert physicians when a patient has accumulated an unsafe amount of opioid medication.
"Seeing these types of results at such an early stage shows that by working together with our clients and introducing innovative ways to protect the safety of patients, we have the ability to make a significant impact," said Mahon. "Our solution is positively impacting our nation and helping patients take better control of their health with additional knowledge, more support and less risk of becoming addicted to opioid medications."
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