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PLoS One. 2015 Aug 14;10(8):e0135957. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135957. eCollection 2015.

Impact of a Mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Program on Prescription of Opioid Analgesics by Dentists.

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Department of General Dentistry, University of Rochester Eastman Institute for Oral Health, 625 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, New York, 14620, United States of America.


Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) are statewide databases that collect data on prescription of controlled substances. New York State mandates prescribers to consult the PDMP registry before prescribing a controlled substance such as opioid analgesics. The effect of mandatory PDMP on opioid drug prescriptions by dentists is not known. This study investigates the impact of mandatory PDMP on frequency and quantity of opioid prescriptions by dentists in a dental urgent care center. Based on the sample size estimate, we collected patient records of a 3-month period before and two consecutive 3-month periods after the mandatory PDMP implementation and analyzed the data on number of visits, treatment types and drug prescriptions using Chi-square tests. For patients who were prescribed pain medications, 452 (30.6%), 190 (14.1%), and 140 (9.6%) received opioid analgesics in the three study periods respectively, signifying a statistically significant reduction in the number of opioid prescriptions after implementation of the mandatory PDMP (p<0.05). Total numbers of prescribed opioid pills in a 3-month period decreased from 5096 to 1120, signifying a 78% reduction in absolute quantity. Prescriptions for non-opioid analgesics acetaminophen increased during the same periods (p<0.05). We conclude that the mandatory PDMP significantly affected the prescription pattern for pain medications by dentists. Such change in prescription pattern represents a shift towards the evidence-based prescription practices for acute postoperative pain.

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