Patterns of potential opioid misuse and subsequent adverse outcomes in Medicare, 2008 to 2012.
This study used Medicare data to examine the relationship between potential opioid misuse and opioid overdose. Researchers defined six possible indicators of opioid misuse (e.g., obtaining opioids from more than five prescribers or more than five pharmacies) in a manner conceptually similar to trigger tools. Patients with any of these opioid use triggers were significantly more likely to experience an overdose within the next 6 months. These results provide insight on how best to use data from prescription drug monitoring programs, which are now widely used as a tool in combating the opioid epidemic.