Patients who refilled prescriptions for extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioids were more likely to have an abnormally high number of early refills compared to those who refilled immediate-release and short-acting (IR/SA) opioids, according to a recent study.
Researchers examined patients who had at least one prescription claim for an opioid during 2016 and followed the prescription data until the end of 2017. A total of 60.6 million patients met the study’s eligibility criteria.
Researchers discovered nearly 10 percent of patients, 1.7 million patients, refilled prescriptions early at least once within one year.
A total of 2.6 million prescriptions were refilled early. Researchers labeled five or more early refills as an “abnormally high” number of early refills, which accounted for 2.8 percent of patients. Of those patients, 9.6 percent had at least two opioid prescriptions for the same national drug code.
Those with multiple opioid prescriptions were more likely to have early refills. They were common among ER/LA opioids than IR/SA opioids, 18.5 percent compared to 8.7 percent.
The proportion of patients who had at least two opioid prescriptions for the same drug was 28.8 percent, and multiple prescriptions were more common for ER/LA-treated patients than IR/SA-treated patients, 65.4 percent compared to 28.4 percent.