Medicare Might Do Extra to Stem Opioid Epidemic

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By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 10, 2017 (HealthDay Information) — Medicare locations few limits on opioid painkiller prescriptions, even within the face of current U.S. authorities pointers, researchers report.

Yale College scientists say Medicare plans for individuals 65 and older are untapped assets for curbing the pointless use and abuse of medicine similar to oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin).

“Individuals are searching for any strategy to management the rise in opioid-use dysfunction. That is one technique,” stated research first creator Dr. Elizabeth Samuels. She’s a postdoctoral fellow in Yale’s Nationwide Scientific Students Program.

A earlier research involving personal insurers confirmed that sure practices may help curb use of addictive painkillers, the researchers stated. Such measures embrace requiring prior authorization from insurers and setting amount limits.

For this research, Samuels and her colleagues analyzed the “formulary information” — lists of allowable medicines — of the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies in 2006, 2011 and 2015. They zeroed in on Medicare protection for all opioids besides methadone.

In 2006, two-thirds of opioids had been prescribed with no restrictions. That dropped to one-third by 2015, however too many of those medication had been nonetheless prescribed with out limitations, the researchers discovered.

The chance for overdose will increase with excessive doses of the highly effective painkillers. Additionally, it is broadly believed that many Individuals who grew to become hooked on painkillers and heroin had been initially prescribed opioids for ache aid, the researchers stated.

In 2016 the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention launched new pointers for prescribing opioids. Docs had been urged to prescribe addictive painkillers on the lowest dose attainable and ideally only for short-term ache aid, amongst different suggestions.

However Medicare is usually the usual for different insurers, the research authors famous.

Regardless of some enhancements in prescribing practices, the researchers stated restrictions like these supported by the CDC accounted for simply 13 p.c of Medicare-covered prescriptions in 2015.

In the meantime, Medicare protection of opioids elevated barely between 2006 and 2015. “An rising variety of opiates had been added to the formulary record,” Samuels stated in a college information launch.

The research was revealed Oct. 9 within the Annals of Inside Medication.

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