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BMC Health Serv Res. 2014 Feb 26;14:90. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-14-90.

Trends and changes in prescription opioid analgesic dispensing in Canada 2005-2012: an update with a focus on recent interventions.

Author information

1
Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA), Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. bfischer@sfu.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Prescription opioid analgesic (POA) utilization has steeply increased globally, yet is far higher in established market economies than elsewhere. Canada features the world's second-highest POA consumption rates. Following increases in POA-related harm, several POA control interventions have been implemented since 2010.

METHODS:

We examined trends and patterns in POA dispensing in Canada by province for 2005-2012, including a focus on the potential effects of interventions. Data on annual dispensing of individual POA formulations--categorized into 'weak opioids' and 'strong opioids'--from a representative sub-sample of 5,700 retail pharmacies across Canada (from IMS Brogan's Compuscript) were converted into Defined Daily Doses (DDD), and examined intra- and inter-provincially as well as for Canada (total).

RESULTS:

Total POA dispensing--driven by strong opioids--increased across Canada until 2011; four provinces indicated decreases in strong opioid dispensing; seven provinces indicated decreases specifically in oxycodone dispensing, 2011-2012. The dispensing ratio weak/strong opioids decreased substantively. Major inter-provincial differences in POA dispensing levels and qualitative patterns of POA formulations dispensed persisted. Previous increasing trends in POA dispensing were reversed in select provinces 2011-2012, coinciding with POA-related interventions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Further examinations regarding the sustained nature, drivers and consequences of the recent trend changes in POA dispensing--including possible 'substitution effects' for oxycodone reductions--are needed.

PMID:
24572005
PMCID:
PMC3941687
DOI:
10.1186/1472-6963-14-90
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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