Prescription practices involving opioid analgesics among Americans with Medicaid, 2010.J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2015 Feb; 26(1):182-98.JH
Recent state-based studies have shown an increased risk of opioid overdose death in Medicaid populations. To explore one side of risk, this study examines indicators of potential opioid inappropriate use or prescribing among Medicaid enrollees. We examined claims from enrollees aged 18-64 years in the 2010 Truven Health MarketScan® Multi-State Medicaid database, which consisted of weighted and nationally representative data from 12 states. Pharmaceutical claims were used to identify enrollees (n=359,368) with opioid prescriptions. Indicators of potential inappropriate use or prescribing included overlapping opioid prescriptions, overlapping opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions, long acting/extended release opioids for acute pain, and high daily doses. In 2010, Medicaid enrollees with opioid prescriptions obtained an average 6.3 opioid prescriptions, and 40% had at least one indicator of potential inappropriate use or prescribing. These indicators have been linked to opioid-related adverse health outcomes, and methods exist to detect and deter inappropriate use and prescribing of opioids.