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Patient Knowledge of Safe Use of ER/LA Opioid Analgesics Following Implementation of the Class-Wide REMS: A Survey Study

Authors Esposito DB, Desai VC, Stephenson JJ, Cepeda MS, Lyons JG, Holick CN, Wedin GP, Lanes S

Received 30 October 2020

Accepted for publication 30 January 2021

Published 24 February 2021 Volume 2021:15 Pages 431—442


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Daina B Esposito,1 Vibha CA Desai,1 Judith J Stephenson,1 M Soledad Cepeda,2 Jennifer G Lyons,1 Crystal N Holick,1 Gregory P Wedin,3 Stephan Lanes1 On behalf of members of the REMS Program Companies Metrics Subteam

1HealthCore, Inc., Wilmington, DE, USA; 2Janssen Research and Development, Titusville, NJ, USA; 3Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC, Maple Grove, MN, USA

Correspondence: Judith J Stephenson
HealthCore Inc, 123 Justison Street, Suite 200, Wilmington, DE, 19801, USA
Tel +1 302-547-5770

Background/Rationale: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for extended release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioids in 2012. The purpose of this study was to assess patient knowledge of the safe use of these products following implementation of the REMS and to determine possible effects of the REMS, including impact on medication access.
Objective: To assess patient knowledge of safe use of ER/LA opioids and use of REMS patient education tools such as the Medication Guide (MG) and Patient Counseling Document (PCD).
Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of commercially insured (Commercial) and Medicare Advantage-insured (Medicare) adults with ≥ 1 pharmacy claim for an ER/LA opioid (10/01/2015 – 02/28/2017) in the HealthCore Integrated Research Database and Medicaid-insured (Medicaid) adult members of a research panel, about their knowledge of safe use of ER/LA opioids and receipt/comprehension of the MG and PCD.
Results: Survey respondents consisted of 382 Commercial, 43 Medicare and 40 Medicaid adults. While ≥ 95% of respondents received and read the MG, fewer were aware of the PCD (Commercial: 47%, Medicare: 65%, Medicaid: 53%). Almost 75% of the knowledge questions were answered correctly by ≥ 80% of all respondents; fewer respondents recognized that use of opioids as directed can lead to death (Commercial: 73%, Medicare: 56%, Medicaid: 63%), the MG should be read at each dispensing (Commercial: 78%, Medicare: 53%, Medicaid: 75%), opioids should not be stored in the medicine cabinet (Commercial: 77%, Medicare: 79%, Medicaid: 58%), missed doses should not be taken as soon as possible (Commercial: 56%, Medicare: 51%, Medicaid: 50%), and pills should not be crushed (Commercial: 85%, Medicare: 67%, Medicaid: 52%).
Conclusion: Although most respondents reported reading and understanding the MG and exhibited knowledge of safe use of ER/LA opioids, providers’ use of the PCD and increased understanding of safe use core messages need reinforcement.

Keywords: Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, opioids, patient knowledge

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