A new study links “pharmacy shopping” with many painkiller overdose deaths among patients on Medicaid. The study found patients who used four pharmacies within 90 days had the highest odds of overdosing, HealthDay reports.
Medicaid programs in many states keep track of the number of pharmacies that patients visit, in an attempt to prevent prescription drug abuse, the article notes. Pharmacy shopping can be a way for people to obtain more opioid prescription drugs than medically necessary.
The researchers examined medical records of more than 90,000 Medicaid recipients who were long-term users of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. The patients used three or more narcotic prescriptions for 90 days from 2008 to 2010. Patients who used overlapping prescriptions for painkillers were most likely to overdose. Those using four pharmacies within 90 days had the highest overdose rate.