Report

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: An Assessment of the Evidence for Best Practices


  • Sep 19, 2012

Quick Summary

A PDMP is a statewide electronic database that gathers information from pharmacies on dispensed prescriptions for controlled substances. This white paper describes what is known about PDMP best practices and documents the extent to which these practices have been implemented.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: An Assessment of the Evidence for Best Practices
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Methods: Assessing the Evidence Base for Practice Effectiveness

III. Methods: Assessing the Evidence Base for Practice Effectiveness

Literature search

As the first step in assessing the evidence base for practice effectiveness, we conducted a systematic review of the medical (PubMed), psychological (PsycINFO), and economics (EconLit) literature through November 2011 for articles pertaining to the effectiveness of PDMPs and PDMP best practices, using a predetermined set of search terms. Search terms included prescription drug monitoring, prescription monitoring, doctor shopping, multiple prescribers, unsolicited reporting, and proactive reporting. All articles from peer-­reviewed journals, published in English, were considered for inclusion. Abstracts identified through searches were reviewed to clarify the publication’s relevance, and eligible articles were retrieved and read to further verify the study’s applicability. These searches were expanded by reviewing the references cited in relevant articles. Articles were excluded if the data did not include outcome measures that would allow us to report on the effectiveness of PDMPs or of the best practice examined. In later drafts of this white paper, the literature search was extended to May 2012.

Other literature was identified from a review of documents listed on the PDMP COE website (www.pmpexcellence.org),  on individual states’ PDMP websites, and from discussion with PDMP COE staff. We identified written (“documented”) evidence of expert opinion or consensus on best practices from review of the Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs and National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws websites (www.pmpalliance.org and www.namsdl.org), particularly practices specified in the 2010 Model Act. Other potential best practices were identified from discussions with experts in the field.  

Data extraction and categorization of evidence

Researchers extracted data on study characteristics from the articles and other sources of evidence identified, and summarized the combined evidence for each potential best practice in descriptive and tabular formats. The tabular summary of evidence drew upon and was adapted from guidance provided by several sources on grading scientific strength of evidence (i.e., Lohr, 2004; Owens et al., 2010). The criteria outlined by these authors include a hierarchical evaluation of the study design, the risk of bias, the quantity of the evidence (such as the number of studies), the
directness of the evidence, the consistency of the evidence, and the precision and magnitude of the estimates. Due to the paucity of studies found on PDMP best practices, we focused our analysis on summarizing the type and level of evidence available, the number of research studies, and where applicable, key findings and consistency of the research evidence. Type of evidence was categorized into two major classes: published or formally documented studies or consensus statements, and informal, anecdotally reported experience from the field and stakeholder perceptions in support of particular practices. The first category includes randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or meta-­‐analyses of RCTs; quasi-experimental designs (e.g., observational studies with comparison groups); other observational studies without
comparison groups (e.g.,  interrupted time series) and case studies; and written guidelines describing a consensus of expert opinion, such as the Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs’ PMP Model Act (ASPMP,
2010).

The grading system for this category ranks RCTs as the strongest evidence and expert opinion as the weakest. The consistency of the evidence for any given practice refers to the extent to which reported research findings from two or more studies show the same direction of effect. The second informal category of evidence consists of accumulated field experience with practices adopted by some states that suggests their efficacy, and the sometimes convergent perceptions among PDMP administrators and stakeholders (e.g., PDMP end users and advisory boards, legislative committees,
and policy experts) concerning the value of a practice, whether proposed or in use. In some cases, these experiences and perceptions may be plausible indicators of possible best practices that will need formal research and evaluation to be adequately assessed.

We recognize that since the field is rapidly evolving, additional studies on PDMPs will likely have been published and new applications of PDMP data implemented between the time of our literature search and the publication of this white paper. This speaks to the need for continued monitoring of the "moving target" that is PDMP research and practice, to which this paper aims to contribute. 

Date added:
Sep 19, 2012
Topic:
Drug Safety
References:
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References:

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Pew Comments to FDA Draft Guidance on 503A

Issue Brief

On January 31, Pew submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in response to draft guidance on the implementation of Title I of the Drug Quality and Security Act and addressed five topics: anticipatory and office stock compounding; quality standards; FDA / state coordination; MOUs to address inordinate interstate shipment of compounded drugs; use of bulk drug substances.

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Improving the Safety and Quality of Our Drug Supply

Other Resource
On Nov. 18, 2013, Congress passed the landmark Drug Quality and Security Act, bipartisan legislation to safeguard the U.S. pharmaceutical supply from counterfeit and contaminated drugs. The act creates a national system to track and authenticate prescription medications as they progress from the manufacturer to the patient. It also addresses the risks posed by drugs made by large-scale compounding pharmacies. More