The Association of EHR Drug Safety Alerts and Co-prescribing of Opioids and Benzodiazepines
Concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use is associated with an increased risk of overdose, compared with opioid users who do not use benzodiazepines.1,2 Reflecting this safety concern, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2016 chronic pain guideline recommended against co-prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines.3 Nevertheless, clinicians frequently co-prescribe these medications. A recent estimate finds that 17% of opioid users concurrently use a benzodiazepine.1
To determine the percentage of visits resulting in an opioid prescription for a patient with an active benzodiazepine prescription, and vice versa, before and after the implementation of an electronic health record (EHR) alert notifying clinicians at the time of prescribing of the dangers of concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use.
METHODS AND FINDINGS
We conducted a retrospective analysis using EHR data from all office and outpatient clinic visits occurring between April 2017 and April 2018 at...
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Grant No. UL1TR002494) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality T32 trainee program (Smith). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences nor the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The study was approved by the University of Minnesota IRB.
Conflict of Interest
Ms. Smith reports no conflict of interest.
Dr. Golberstein reports no conflict of interest.
Ms. Anderson reports no conflict of interest.
Dr. Christiaansen reports no conflict of interest.
Dr. Paterson reports no conflict of interest.
Dr. Short reports no conflict of interest.
Dr. Neprash reports receiving consulting compensation from athenahealth, Inc.
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