Category: Federal Forum Posters
Purpose: There has been an increase use of opioids and benzodiazepines, which are often prescribed concomitantly among the Veteran Affairs patient population suffering from mental health disorders and pain conditions. Concomitant use of these medications exposes patients to an increased risk of respiratory depression, a potentially fatal outcome, for patients on chronic opioid therapy. Despite the possible drug interaction between the two classes of medications, benzodiazepines are still commonly prescribed in conjunction with opioids. The purpose of this study is to work closely with prescribers to implement recommended changes toward safer opioid and benzodiazepine prescribing to enhance health outcomes for Veterans.
Methods: A chart review of patients prescribed a combination of opioid and benzodiazepine therapy from July 2018 to August 2018 will be performed. The Stratification Tool for Opioid Risk Mitigation database will be used to assess patients’ risk category. Data collection will include: patient demographics, drug names, doses, length of concurrent therapy of opioid and benzodiazepine, medication indications, if naloxone kit was prescribed, and patient follow-up appointments. Patients’ mental health regimens will be reviewed for appropriateness. The plan is to follow the VA Opioid Taper Decision Tool and benzodiazepine tapering guidelines to assist in determining if the opioid or benzodiazepine taper is necessary. An evaluation of therapy will be performed for patients who are identified as high-risk. Also, providers will be contacted to suggest an alternate therapy for the patient conditions if warranted.
Results: Not applicable
Conclusion: Not applicable
Kathy Wong– PGY1 Pharmacy Resident, Miami VA Healthcare System, Miami, FL