This article was published online on July 13, 2011. Error was subsequently identified in the author name. This notice is included in the online and print versions to indicate that both have been corrected [September 29, 2011].
Differences and over-time changes in levels of prescription opioid analgesic dispensing from retail pharmacies in Canada, 2005–2010†
Article first published online: 13 JUL 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Volume 20, Issue 12, pages 1269–1277, December 2011
How to Cite
Fischer, B., Jones, W., Krahn, M. and Rehm, J. (2011), Differences and over-time changes in levels of prescription opioid analgesic dispensing from retail pharmacies in Canada, 2005–2010. Pharmacoepidem. Drug Safe., 20: 1269–1277. doi: 10.1002/pds.2190
- Issue published online: 22 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 13 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 16 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Received: 16 JUL 2010
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Grant Number: 12345
- Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
- Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Senior Scholar Award
- prescription opioid analgesics;
- pain care;
- prescription monitoring;
- health system;
- psychoactive drug use;
- public health;
To examine qualitative and quantitative levels and trends of prescription opioid analgesics (“opioids”) use and the potential impact of prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), in the 10 Canadian provinces, for 2005–2010.
Opioid dispensing data from a representative sample of 2700 retail pharmacies were obtained. Individual opioid dispensing values were translated into defined daily doses per day/1000 population and categorized into “weak opioids” and “strong opioids” by standardized methods. Opioid prescription rates between provinces and over time, as well as the impact of PMPs, were examined using regression analyses techniques (i.e., Poisson, ANOVAs).
Significant differences between provinces in the overall standardized rates of dispensing for total opioids, as well as for “weak opioids” and “strong opioids” categories, were found. The majority of provinces featured increases or curvilinear trends in the standardized amounts of opioids dispensed over time, mainly driven by increases in “strong opioids” use. In addition, significant inter-provincial differences in the levels of dispensing of individual opioids were found. Comparisons of changes in opioid dispensing between provinces with and without PMPs did not indicate significant differences.
Opioid use featured significant quantitative and qualitative differences between provinces in Canada and showed an overall increasing trend mainly driven by changes in “strong opioids” in the study period. Reasons for the observed differences are not clear yet require systematic examination to allow evidence-based interventions in the interest of equitable pain treatment as well as the reduction of high levels of opioid-related morbidity and mortality in Canada. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.