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Kenneth L. McCall:

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Naloxone ; Pharmacoepidemiology ; Medicaid ; Medicare ; Opioid antagonists


Background Opioid overdoses in the USA have increased to unprecedented levels. Administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone can prevent overdoses. Objective This study was conducted to reveal the pharmacoepidemiologic patterns in naloxone prescribing to Medicaid patients from 2018 to 2021 as well as Medicare in 2019. Design Observational pharmacoepidemiologic study Setting US Medicare and Medicaid naloxone claims Intervention The Medicaid State Drug Utilisation Data File was utilised to extract information on the number of prescriptions and the amount prescribed of naloxone at a national and state level. The Medicare Provider Utilisation and Payment was also utilised to analyse prescription data from 2019. Outcome measures States with naloxone prescription rates that were outliers of quartile analysis were noted. Results The number of generic naloxone prescriptions per 100 000 Medicaid enrollees decreased by 5.3%, whereas brand naloxone prescriptions increased by 245.1% from 2018 to 2021. There was a 33.1-fold difference in prescriptions between the highest (New Mexico=1809.5) and lowest (South Dakota=54.6) states in 2019. Medicare saw a 30.4-fold difference in prescriptions between the highest (New Mexico) and lowest states (also South Dakota) after correcting per 100 000 enrollees. Conclusions This pronounced increase in the number of naloxone prescriptions to Medicaid patients from 2018 to 2021 indicates a national response to this widespread public health emergency. Further research into the origins of the pronounced state-level disparities is warranted.


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License