Effect of Automated Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Queries on Emergency Department Opioid Prescribing

Benjamin Sun, Christina J. Charlesworth, Nicoleta Lupulescu-Mann, Jenny I. Young, Hyunjee Kim, Daniel M. Hartung, Richard (Rick) Deyo, Kenneth (John) McConnell

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Study objective: We assess whether an automated prescription drug monitoring program intervention in emergency department (ED) settings is associated with reductions in opioid prescribing and quantities. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of ED visits by Medicaid beneficiaries. We assessed the staggered implementation (pre-post) of automated prescription drug monitoring program queries at 86 EDs in Washington State from January 1, 2013, to September 30, 2015. The outcomes included any opioid prescribed within 1 day of the index ED visit and total dispensed morphine milligram equivalents. The exposure was the automated prescription drug monitoring program query intervention. We assessed program effects stratified by previous high-risk opioid use. We performed multiple sensitivity analyses, including restriction to pain-related visits, restriction to visits with a confirmed prescription drug monitoring program query, and assessment of 6 specific opioid high-risk indicators. Results: The study included 1,187,237 qualifying ED visits (898,162 preintervention; 289,075 postintervention). Compared with the preintervention period, automated prescription drug monitoring program queries were not significantly associated with reductions in the proportion of visits with opioid prescribing (5.8 per 1,000 encounters; 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.11 to 11.8) or the amount of prescribed morphine milligram equivalents (difference 2.66; 95% CI -0.15 to 5.48). There was no evidence of selective reduction in patients with previous high-risk opioid use (1.2 per 1,000 encounters, 95% CI -9.5 to 12.0; morphine milligram equivalents 1.22, 95% CI -3.39 to 5.82). The lack of a selective reduction in high-risk patients was robust to all sensitivity analyses. Conclusion: An automated prescription drug monitoring program query intervention was not associated with reductions in ED opioid prescribing or quantities, even in patients with previous high-risk opioid use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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