Tenn. database flagging doctor shoppers, reducing painkiller Rxs

October 9, 2014

Since the start of Tennessee’s drug database three years ago, more than 2,000 so-called ‘doctor shoppers’ have been thwarted and prescriptions for painkillers have decreased, according to a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Since the start of Tennessee’s drug database three years ago, more than 2,000 so-called ‘doctor shoppers’ have been thwarted and prescriptions for painkillers have decreased, according to a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

However, Tennessee still has the highest per capita rate for painkiller use, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Will Missouri finally create a PDMP to stop doctor shopping?

In addition to creating a drug database, Tennessee adopted other measures aimed at stemming opioid overdoses and illegal opioid sales. Those added steps included database checks and possible urine samples for drug screens.

 

According to the newspaper report, prescriptions for benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium have decreased 3%, and prescriptions for opioid painkillers have dropped 0.7% since the tougher regulations were implemented.

"It's more time-consuming, and it adds expense, but at the end of the day it is probably better for practicing good medicine," Brian Kalla, a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor, told the newspaper.

The newspaper said more than 70 Tennessee doctors surveyed said they have changed treatment plans after checking the database, and more than half surveyed said they are now more likely to recommend substance abuse treatment for patients.

"Some of these are people that I had suspicions about," Kalla said. "But others completely surprised me."