Infectious Disease

The variety of stuffed prescriptions “dropped considerably” within the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic

January 26, 2021

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Nguyen and Stein do not report any relevant financial information. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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The number of people filling out prescriptions for all drugs declined “significantly” in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The number of people filling prescriptions for buprenorphine “plated” but did not “decrease” during that period, they added.

The early days of the pandemic were linked with a sudden decline in all filled prescriptions and a stabilization in prescriptions for some buprenorphine products, researchers wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine. Photo source: Adobe Stock.

“Americans with opioid use disorder are a vulnerable population during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data suggests a significant increase in overdoses.” Thuy D. Nguyen, PhD, A research fellow, professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, told Healio Primary Care, “We wanted to understand how the pandemic is affecting access to one of the most effective treatments [for opioid use disorder] to inform practitioners and policy makers about this rapidly evolving situation. “

Thuy D. Nugyen

Nguyen and colleagues analyzed retail pharmacy claims for the period May 1, 2019 through June 28, 2020 from a U.S. database that contained 92% of retail pharmacy claims. They excluded the week of March 8-15 because it was the week before the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Authority and Drug Enforcement Administration approved the use of telemedicine for prescribing buprenorphine, they wrote. The researchers also examined trends in total US retail pharmacy sales and sales of buprenorphine products with an FDA-cleared indication for the treatment of opioid use disorders at various intervals during the study period.

The researchers found that from May 2019 to March 2020, the number of people filling prescriptions for buprenorphine products increased by 26.01% and the number of people filling prescriptions of any kind increased by 8.78%.

“This suggests that recent federal and local government efforts to expand access to buprenorphine to millions of people with opioid use disorder, such as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, which allowed nurses and medical assistants to waive it and to prescribe buprenorphine were successful. Said Nguyen.

However, the weekly prescription fill growth rate for buprenorphine decreased by 0.50% (95%) between the pre-pandemic periods (May 1, 2019 to March 15, 2020) and the pandemic (March 16, 2020 to June 28, 2020) ) CI 0.84% ​​to 0.15%).

Researchers also used quasi-experimental broken time series analysis to determine whether the level or rate of growth (slope) of all filled prescriptions had changed between the prepandemic and pandemic periods. They reported that the pandemic began with an “abrupt” decline in levels (-5.03 million patients filling a prescription; 95% CI, -6.85 million to -3.2 million) and growth rate (-0, 57%; 95% CI, -1.01% to -0.14%) of all prescriptions. Put another way, the pandemic was associated with a 10.8% decrease in prescriptions and a 1.25% decrease in buprenorphine prescriptions. These patterns contrasted with those of buprenorphine product prescriptions, according to the researchers.

“Since the pandemic, the number of people filling out buprenorphine prescriptions has essentially plateaued but not decreased as has been the case with all medications, suggesting that some of the responses to the pandemic, such as: Bradley Stone, PhD, MD, MPH, The director of the Rand Corporation’s Opioid Policies, Tools and Information Center and a co-author of the study told Healio Primary Care.

Bradley Stone

“However, more needs to be done to address the increasing drug overdoses during the public health emergency,” he added.

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