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The effectiveness of prescription drug monitoring programs at reducing opioid-related harms and consequences: A systematic review

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Abstract

Background: In order to address the opioid crisis in North America, many regions have adopted preventative strategies, such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). PDMPs aim to increase patient safety by certifying that opioids are prescribed in appropriate quantities. We aimed to synthesize the literature on changes in opioid-related harms and consequences, an important measure of PDMP effectiveness. Methods: We completed a systematic review. We conducted a narrative synthesis of opioid-related harms and consequences from PDMP implementation. Outcomes were grouped into categories by theme: opioid dependence, opioid-related care outcomes, opioid-related adverse events, and opioid-related legal and crime outcomes. Results: We included a total of 22 studies (49 PDMPs) in our review. Two studies reported on illicit and problematic use but found no significant associations with PDMP status. Eight studies examined the association between PDMP status and opioid-related care outcomes, of which two found that treatment admissions for prescriptions opioids were lower in states with PDMP programs (p < 0.05). Of the thirteen studies that reported on opioid-related adverse events, two found significant (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05) but conflicting results with one finding a decrease in opioid-related overdose deaths after PDMP implementation and the other an increase. Lastly, two studies found no statistically significant association between PDMP status and opioid-related legal and crime outcomes (crime rates, identification of potential dealers, and diversion). Conclusion: Our study found limited evidence to support overall associations between PDMPs and reductions in opioid-related consequences. However, this should not detract from the value of PDMPs' larger role of improving opioid prescribing.

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Rhodes, E., Wilson, M., Robinson, A., Hayden, J. A., & Asbridge, M. (2019, November 1). The effectiveness of prescription drug monitoring programs at reducing opioid-related harms and consequences: A systematic review. BMC Health Services Research. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4642-8

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