Feb 22, 2024

Opioid control and prevention is the top pharmacy program concern according to 52% of participants from the 2023 Workers’ Compensation Industry Insights Survey. However, with opioid utilization on the decline in recent years, a more diverse range of trends are beginning to emerge. Silvia Sacalis, from Healthesystems, highlights emerging trends such as dermatologicals, buprenorphine, anticonvulsants, novel migraine agents, specialty medications, and emerging psychedelics.

Dermatologicals, particularly topical analgesics, have seen significant growth as alternatives to opioids, but concerns arise regarding safety, efficacy, and cost, especially with private-label topicals and compounded products. Buprenorphine, while safer than traditional opioids, presents challenges such as off-label prescribing and lacks clear risk evaluation guidelines from the CDC. Anticonvulsants like gabapentin raise safety concerns, especially when combined with opioids, due to potential adverse effects and off-label prescribing rates. Specialty medications and emerging psychedelics like ketamine and MDMA are also areas of interest for potential application in workers’ compensation, albeit with strict safety and administration protocols. Despite decreased opioid prescribing, ongoing vigilance and careful management are necessary due to the risk of addiction and abuse, emphasizing the importance of tapering plans and judicious use in pain management.

To read the full article from Risk and Insurance magazine: click here

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