Addressing Opioid Dose Limits as a Route to Deterring Prescription Drug Abuse

Monday, March 25, 2019
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Kimberly Lenz, PharmD
Commonwealth Medicine
Bonnie Greenwood, PharmD, BCPS
Commonwealth Medicine
Michael C. Angelini, MA, PharmD, BCPP
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University
Karen Clements, ScD
Commonwealth Medicine
Rose Mauro, MPH, CPh
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Paul L. Jeffrey, PharmD
Commonwealth Medicine

A study by our pharmacy experts shows the positive impact of dose-limit policies implemented by a state Medicaid program. The team evaluated prior authorization policy-based opioid prescription limits implemented over a 15-year period and found that a sequential and progressive opioid dose reduction strategy was successful in decreasing the average daily opioid dose among Medicaid members in Massachusetts. It also showed a significant decrease in members receiving the highest doses. The results can be useful for policymakers and other Medicaid programs as they consider potential strategies to address the opioid epidemic.