Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Prescription Monitoring Programs Expanding

New York will soon require physicians to refer to an electronic database to see if other physicians have prescribed the same controlled substance to a patient. The goal is to reduce the increasing numbers of fatal overdoses of prescription drugs, which now exceed deaths from heroin and cocaine, said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a statement. Such state-based prescription-monitoring programs have existed—using paper or fax documentation—since 1993 and  operate in 42 states, with another six in development.

Such programs should cover medications listed on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s schedules 2, 3, 4, and 5, wrote Jeanmarie Perrone, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, and Lewis Nelson, M.D., of New York University, in an article published online in the New England Journal of Medicine May 30. The ideal monitoring program, they said, should include ease of access, standardized content, real-time updates, mandatory pharmacy reporting, interstate accessibility, confidentiality and security guarantees, and strictly monitored access for nonprescribers.

To read more about the complexities involved in prescribing pain medications, see Psychiatric News here.
(Image: Feng Yu/


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