To assess differences in prescription monitoring program (PMP) use between two states with different PMP accessibility (Connecticut [CT] and Rhode Island [RI]), to explore use of PMPs in pharmacy practice, and to examine associations between PMP use and pharmacists’ responses to suspected diversion or “doctor shopping.”
Descriptive nonexperimental study.
CT and RI from March through August 2011.
Licensed pharmacists in CT and RI.
Anonymous surveys e-mailed to pharmacists
Main outcome measures
PMP use, use of patient reports in pharmacy practice, and responses to suspected doctor shopping or diversion.
Responses from 294 pharmacists were received (CT: 198; RI: 96). PMP users were more likely to use the PMP to detect drug abuse (CT: 79%; RI: 21.9%; P < 0.01) and doctor shopping (67%; 7%; P < 0.01). When faced with suspicious medication use behavior, PMP users were less likely than nonusers to discuss their concerns with the patient (adjusted odds ratio 0.48 [95% CI 0.25–0.92]) but as likely to contact the provider (0.86 [0.21–3.47]), refer the patient back to the prescriber (1.50 [0.79–2.86]), and refuse to fill the prescription (0.63 [0.30–1.30]). PMP users were less likely to state they were out of stock of the drug (0.27 [0.12–0.60]) compared with nonusers. Pharmacists reported high interest in attending continuing education on safe dispensing (72.8%).
Pharmacists are important participants in the effort to address prescription drug misuse and abuse. Current PMP use with prevailing systems had limited influence on pharmacy practice. Findings point to future research and needed practice and education innovations to improve patient safety and safer opioid dispensing for pharmacists.
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