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New CO APCD Analysis Describes Opioid Prescribing Patterns in Colorado

A new report from the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC), based on data in the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD), helps identify opportunities to reduce opioid use disorders in the state.

One critical approach to the multiple ways to address the opioid epidemic is to minimize the number of pills given to people with temporary, acute pain. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) research indicates that prescribing a longer duration dosage can significantly increase a person’s chance of becoming addicted. Therefore, the CDC suggests that providers offer alternative treatment options to opioids, and when necessary, prescribe the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration, typically three to seven days.

CO APCD data from 2009-2017 for short-acting versions of three commonly prescribed opioids – Oxycodone, Percocet, and Vicodin – indicates that prescribing often falls outside of CDC minimum necessary recommendations. In fact, for all three drugs across all payers, more than half of all prescriptions filled were for eight days or more.

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