Controlled Substance Agreements for Opioids in a Primary Care Practice

Lindsey M. Philpot, Priya Ramar, Muhamad Y. Elrashidi, Raphael Mwangi, Frederick North, Jon O. Ebbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Opioids are widely prescribed for chronic non cancer pain (CNCP). Controlled substance agreements (CSAs) are intended to increase adherence and mitigate risk with opioid prescribing. We evaluated thedemographic characteristics of and opioid dosing for patients with CNCP enrolled in CSAs in a primary care practice. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 1066 patients enrolled in CSAs between May 9, 2013 and August 15, 2016 for CNCP in a Midwest primary care practice. Results: Patients were prescribed an average of 40.8 (SD ± 57.0) morphine milligram equivalents per day (MME/day), and 21.5% of patients were receiving ≥50 MME/day and 9.7% were receiving ≥90 MME/day. Patients who were younger in age (≥ 65 vs. < 65 years, P < 0.0001), male gender (P = 0.0001), and used tobacco (P = 0.0002) received significantly higher MME/day. Patients with more co-morbidities (Charlson Comorbidity Index, CCI) received higher MME/day (CCI > 3 vs. CCI ≤ 3, P = 0.03), and reported higher average pain (CCI > 3 mean 5.8 [SD ± 2.1] vs. CCI ≤ 3 mean 5.3 [SD ± 2.0], P = 0.0011). Patients on an identified tapering plan (6.9%) had higher MME/day than patients not on a tapering plan (P = 0.0002). Conclusions: CSAs present an opportunity to engage patients taking higher doses of opioids in discussions about opioid safety, appropriate dosing and tapering. CSAs could be leveraged to develop a population health management approach to the care of patients with CNCP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 12 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Pharmacy


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