Definition

prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)

Contributor(s): Sarah Lewis

A prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) is an electronic database that collects designated data on controlled substances which are prescribed and dispensed within a state. PDMPs are housed and regulated by individual statewide administrative or law enforcement agencies. Currently, 49 states and the District of Columbia have legislation authorizing and operating PDMPs.

PDMPs are effective tools utilized by government officials, pharmacists and healthcare providers to minimize prescription drug abuse, diversion, and overdose. Data taken from dispensaries and pharmacies is collected, monitored and analyzed electronically by PDMPs. This information is then used to support states' drug education efforts, research drug addiction and prevent substance abuse. Access to PDMP data is only provided to authorized entities such as healthcare practitioners, pharmacists, regulatory compliance boards and law enforcement agencies.

PDMPs do not interfere with the appropriate, legitimate medical use of controlled substances, but rather are proactive in safeguarding public health and safety. Controlled substances are defined individually by the state, but typically include narcotics, tranquilizers, stimulates and additional drugs of concern such as butalbital.

Benefits of PDMPs

Features implemented within the majority of PDMPs provide the following benefits:

  • Well-advised prescribing or e-prescribing decisions based on a patient's prescription history and behavior.
  • Access to timelier, more accurate electronic health records (EHR).
  • Integration of PDMPs into existing EHR systems.
  • Identification of potentially high-risk areas of drug abuse or diversion.
  • Facilitation of identification and intervention practices for potentially addicted patients.
  • Better informed public health initiatives and response to drug abuse epidemics.
This was last updated in January 2019

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