Does Evidence Have a Role in Treating the Opioid Epidemic?

opioidusa_1200.jpgAmerica has an opioid problem.

According to a 2016 report from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Of that number, 20,101 overdose deaths were related to prescription opioid pain relievers and 12,990 overdose deaths were related to heroin in 2015. In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids; 80% of new heroin users began by misusing prescription painkillers. 

“The ‘prior auth’ approval process adds a significant amount of time to when a prescription can be filled…this time represents a critical period for those suffering from addiction, giving them a window in which they can change their mind about seeking treatment.”

opioids_1200.jpgAn article in Kaiser Health News (KHN) reported that insurance company Aetna will join Anthem and Cigna in removing the requirement for prior authorization for particular medications used to treat withdrawal symptoms, such as Suboxone. The “prior auth” approval process adds a significant amount of time to when a prescription can be filled. Experts interviewed in the KHN piece noted that this time represents a critical period for those suffering from addiction, giving them a window in which they can change their mind about seeking treatment. However, many carriers continue to require prior authorization, offering the rationale that it acts as a system of checks to prevent improper distribution of the drugs.

Click below to view the sample report.

Sample Prognosis Report

“The document also recognizes the importance of research, stating that it is ‘fundamental to prevention efforts and to the development of new and more effective treatments.’”

opioid research_1200.jpgEven with insurance companies making changes to their policies, much more must be done in order to stem the tide of this devastating and worsening epidemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has incorporated research into their efforts. In a document titled “Translating Science into Action,” the department details statistics about their latest initiatives. As of the document’s publication in July of 2016, more than 30 studies are being supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), designed to prevent chronic pain. The document also recognizes the importance of research, stating that it is “fundamental to prevention efforts and to the development of new and more effective treatments.”

One such treatment is Probuphine, a buprenorphine extended-release subcutaneous implant. Buprenorphine is the active drug in Suboxone. Hayes Technology Prognosis followed the development of this health technology up until its FDA approval.

Click below to view the sample report.

Sample Prognosis Report

As further studies become part of the body of peer-reviewed, published literature, Hayes will perform unbiased evaluations of the evidence. Our Viewpoints and industry-standard Hayes Ratings can assist both providers and payers in their respective care delivery and prior authorization determinations.

Time can be a luxury when it comes to treating opioid addiction. Thoroughly scrutinized evidence puts time back in your hands to provide the necessary care. Hayes can help.

Topics: Health Technologies, Payers, Hospitals, Hayes Blog

Sign up to receive updates from our blog

Our latest articles

New Call-to-action