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A systematic review of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), advocated in the president's Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, fails to show evidence of efficacy in preventing nonfatal and fatal overdoses.
Two authors analyzed 2661 citations and found articles meeting inclusion criteria. These articles examined PDMP implementation only (n = 8), program features only (n = 2), PDMP implementation and program features (n = 5), PDMP implementation with mandated provider review combined with pain clinic laws (n = 1), and PDMP robustness (n = 1).
Three studies were unable to conclude that PDMP implementation improved nonfatal overdoses.
While 10 studies suggested fewer fatal overdoses with PDMP implementation, this evidence was of low strength.
Evidence pointing to decreases in overdose deaths involved programs that included mandatory provider review, provider authorization to access PDMP data, frequent reports, and monitoring of nonscheduled drugs.
Three of 6 studies found an increase in heroin overdoses after PDMP implementation.
Based on this review, the authors concluded that PDMP implementation neither increases or decreases nonfatal or fatal overdoses. Further research is needed to identify best practices in PDMP that lead to favorable outcomes.