A decade after the establishment of Maine's prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), just under half of the state's pharmacists reported that they were not using it to track possible prescription drug misuse, a Husson University study has found.
Published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the study of trends in 2014 found that only 56% of pharmacists were using the state's electronic database; the study was based on a survey of 275 pharmacists. “Often, the pharmacist is the 'last line of defense,' for patient safety,” Husson University School of Pharmacy Associate Professor Stephanie Nichols, PharmD, said in a news release.
The study did find that oxycodone and hydrocodone prescribing in the state declined in 2014, while buprenorphine prescribing rose substantially. “I think that's a positive trend, because we interpret that as an increase in treatment of people with an opioid use disorder,” said Nichols.
The researchers also reported a troubling prevalence of opioid prescribing for women in their 80s, with 38% of women in this age group having such prescriptions.