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Study, Apr/20: Proactive, pharmacist-led intervention re: opiod + benzo scripts


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The full title of this Canadian study is "Opioid stewardship: implementing a proactive, pharmacist-led intervention for patients coprescribed opioids and benzodiazepines at an urban academic primary care centre".






In 2017, almost 4000 Canadians died from opioid-related causes. Coadministration of opioids and benzodiazepines is a risk factor for overdose. Few studies have evaluated leveraging pharmacists to address opioid-benzodiazepine coprescribing. Our aim was to develop and test a role for pharmacists as opioid stewards, to reduce opioid and benzodiazepine doses in coprescribed patients. We conducted Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles between November 2017 and May 2018 across two primary care centre clinics. A third clinic acted as a control. Our intervention included a pharmacist: (1) identifying patients through medical record queries; (2) developing care plans; (3) discussing recommendations with physicians and (4) discussing implementing recommendations. We refined the intervention according to patient and physician feedback. At the intervention clinics, the number of patients with pharmacist developed care plans increased from less than 20% at baseline to over 60% postintervention. There was also a fourfold increase in the number of patients with an active opioid taper. At the control clinic, the number of patients with pharmacist developed care plans remained relatively stable at less than 20%. The number of patients with active opioid tapers remained zero. At the intervention clinics, mean daily opioid dose decreased 11% from 50.5 milligrams morphine equivalent (MME) to 44.7 MME. At the control clinic, it increased 15% from 62.3 MME to 71.4 MME. The number of patients with a benzodiazepine taper remained relatively stable at both the intervention and control clinics at less than 20%. At the intervention clinics, mean daily benzodiazepine dose decreased 8% from 9.9 milligrams diazepam equivalent (MDE) to 9.3 MDE. At the control clinic, it decreased 4% from 10.8 MDE to 10.4 MDE. A proactive, pharmacist-led intervention for coprescribed patients increased opioid tapers and decreased opioid and benzodiazepine doses. Future work will help us understand whether sustaining the intervention ultimately reduces rates of opioid-benzodiazepine coprescribing.


Full Study:



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