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1.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0256806, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1808553

ABSTRACT

Scientific evidence plays an important role in the therapeutic decision-making process. What happens when physicians are forced to make therapeutic decisions under uncertainty? The absence of scientific guidelines at the beginning of a pandemic due to an unknown virus, such as COVID-19, could influence the perceived legitimacy of the application of non-evidence-based therapeutic approaches. This paper reports on a test of this hypothesis, in which we administered an ad hoc questionnaire to a sample of 64 Italian physicians during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy (April 2020). The questionnaire statements regarding the legitimacy of off-label or experimental drugs were framed according to three different scenarios (Normality, Emergency and COVID-19). Furthermore, as the perception of internal bodily sensations (i.e., interoception) modulates the decision-making process, we tested participants' interoceptive sensibility using the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA). The results showed that participants were more inclined to legitimate non-evidence-based therapeutic approaches in the COVID-19 and Emergency scenarios than the Normality scenario. We also found that scores on the MAIA Trusting subscale positively predicted this difference. Our findings demonstrate that uncertain medical scenarios, involving a dramatic increase in patient volume and acuity, can increase risk-taking in therapeutic decision-making. Furthermore, individual characteristics of health care providers, such as interoceptive ability, should be taken into account when constructing models to prevent the breakdown of healthcare systems in cases of severe emergency.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Physicians/psychology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Decision Making , Drug Prescriptions , Emergency Treatment , Female , Humans , Interoception , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pharmaceutical Preparations/administration & dosage , Risk-Taking , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(19)2021 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1771199

ABSTRACT

The new Dutch Care and Coercion Act aims to better regulate the use of psychotropic drugs for challenging behaviour in people with an intellectual disability. This study explores experiences of intellectual disability physicians (IDPs) in prescribing psychotropic drugs and investigates how the Act and the new multidisciplinary guideline on challenging behaviour affects their practice. A qualitative study was conducted, consisting of nine semi-structured in-depth interviews with IDPs, followed by a thematic analysis. It was found that IDPs experienced the new Act and guideline as supportive of their work as guardians of the appropriate use of psychotropic drugs. The multidisciplinary character of the guideline was experienced positively. However, IDPs are faced with organisational barriers and time constraints, as such, they question the feasibility of implementing the Act. Based on these findings, it can be concluded that the Care and Coercion Act may support the existing shift towards the appropriate use of psychotropic drugs if required conditions can be met.


Subject(s)
Intellectual Disability , Physicians , Coercion , Drug Prescriptions , Humans , Intellectual Disability/drug therapy , Psychotropic Drugs/therapeutic use
4.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(5)2022 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736918

ABSTRACT

(1) Background: Precarious patients are more difficult to care for due to low literacy rates and poor adherence to treatment and hospitalization. These difficulties have detrimental effects on general practitioners (GPs), deteriorating medical communication, advice, diagnoses, and drug prescriptions. To better understand how precariousness affects primary care, we tested whether, among GPs, exposure to high precariousness prevalence more severely impacts drug prescriptions to precarious and non-precarious populations compared to low precariousness prevalence. Materials and methods: This pharmaco-epidemiological study, using linear regression analyses, compared the defined daily dose of 20 drugs prescribed by GPs to precarious and non-precarious patients in four French regions with low and high precariousness prevalence in 2015. (2) Findings: Exposure to high precariousness prevalence significantly impacted the prescriptions of nine medications to precarious patients and two medications to non-precarious patients, and distributed into three interaction patterns. (3) Interpretation: The selective over-prescription of drugs with easy intake modalities to precarious patients probably reflects GPs' attempts to compensate for poor patient compliance. In contrast, the under-prescription of drugs targeting fungal infections in precarious populations and diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in non-precarious populations was seemingly due to a breakdown of empathy and professional exhaustion, causing medical neglect.


Subject(s)
General Practitioners , Drug Prescriptions , Humans , Pharmacoepidemiology , Prevalence , Retrospective Studies
5.
JAAPA ; 34(6): 1-4, 2021 Jun 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684812

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: Preliminary data suggest that opioid-related overdose deaths have increased subsequent to COVID-19. Despite national support for expanding the role of physician assistants (PAs) and NPs in serving patients with opioid use disorder, these clinicians are held to complex and stringent regulatory barriers. COVID-19 triggered significant changes from regulatory and federal agencies, yet disparate policies and regulations persist between physicians and PAs and NPs. The dual epidemics of COVID-19 and opioid use disorder highlight the inadequate infrastructure required to support patients, communities, and clinicians, and may serve as the catalyst for eliminating barriers to care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Services Accessibility/legislation & jurisprudence , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Drug Prescriptions , Health Policy/legislation & jurisprudence , Humans , Legislation, Drug , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Nurse Practitioners/legislation & jurisprudence , Opioid Epidemic , Physician Assistants/legislation & jurisprudence , Physicians/legislation & jurisprudence , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine , United States/epidemiology
6.
J Prim Care Community Health ; 13: 21501319221076926, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685972

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Changes in health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted opioid prescribing. This study evaluated the impact of restrictions on in-person care on opioid prescribing in the outpatient setting. The hypothesis was that after restrictions to in-person care were implemented, there would be a reduction in the number of chronic and non-chronic opioid prescriptions. METHODS: An interrupted time series analysis was conducted to compare the number of weekly opioid prescriptions between baseline (1/1/2019-3/14/2020), restriction (3/15/2020-6/6/2020), and reopening (6/7/2020-10/31/2020) periods at outpatient practices within a health system in Bronx, NY. Analyses were stratified by prescription type (chronic if the patient had been prescribed opioids for >90 days, or non-chronic). RESULTS: For chronic opioid prescriptions, the week restrictions were implemented, there was an increase in the number of prescriptions compared to what was predicted if there had been no interruption (34.8 prescriptions, 95% CI: 8.0, 61.7). Subsequently, the weekly trend in prescribing was not different in the restriction period or in the reopening period compared to the previous time periods. For non-chronic opioid prescriptions, during the restriction period, the weekly trend in prescribing decreased compared to baseline (-5.0 prescriptions/week, 95% CI: -9.0, -1.0). Subsequently, during the reopening period, the weekly trend in prescribing increased compared to the restriction period (6.4 prescriptions/week, 95% CI: 2.2, 10.7). CONCLUSIONS: Despite abrupt restrictions on in-person care, chronic opioid prescriptions did not decrease, which is evidence that providers evolved to meet patient needs. Changes in non-chronic prescriptions are likely related to patients electing not to pursue care for acute pain or challenges with appointment availability.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid , COVID-19 , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Drug Prescriptions , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Outpatients , Pandemics , Practice Patterns, Physicians' , SARS-CoV-2
7.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 252, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1677503

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Sweden has seen an accelerated decline in the number of dispensed antibiotic prescriptions from an already low level during the Covid-19 pandemic. This prompted us to explore whether the decrease in antibiotic prescriptions has reached a critically low level and resulted in an increase in treatment of severe complications from common infections. The aim was to study if the accelerated decrease in antibiotic sales has led to an increase in complications in outpatients with common infections. METHOD: A population-based nationwide registry study based on the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register and the National Patient Register. RESULTS: The total number of dispensed antibiotic prescriptions decreased by 17% during 2020 compared to 2019. The decrease was most pronounced in younger age groups and for antibiotics targeting respiratory tract infections. The number of hospital admissions and visits to open specialist care due to pneumonia or complications related to otitis, tonsillitis, or sinusitis decreased by 4-44%. Prescriptions and numbers of visits or admissions due to urinary tract infections and skin infections remained largely unchanged compared to previous years. CONCLUSION: No increase in complications due to common bacterial infections could be detected despite an unprecedented decline in dispensed antibiotic prescriptions in outpatient care in 2020. The decrease in dispensed antibiotic prescriptions from pharmacies was probably primarily related to a general decrease in the incidence of respiratory infections due to the recommendations and restrictions implemented to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic in Sweden. This in return led to fewer doctors' visits and consequently to fewer occasions to prescribe antibiotics, be they warranted or not.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Tract Infections , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Drug Prescriptions , Humans , Pandemics , Practice Patterns, Physicians' , Respiratory Tract Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Pediatrics ; 149(2)2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662454

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: With the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, pediatric ambulatory encounter volume and antibiotic prescribing both decreased; however, the durability of these reductions in pediatric primary care in the United States has not been assessed. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective observational study to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures on antibiotic prescribing in 27 pediatric primary care practices. Encounters from January 1, 2018, through June 30, 2021, were included. The primary outcome was monthly antibiotic prescriptions per 1000 patients. Interrupted time series analysis was performed. RESULTS: There were 69 327 total antibiotic prescriptions from April through December in 2019 and 18 935 antibiotic prescriptions during the same months in 2020, a 72.7% reduction. The reduction in prescriptions at visits for respiratory tract infection (RTI) accounted for 87.3% of this decrease. Using interrupted time series analysis, overall antibiotic prescriptions decreased from 31.6 to 6.4 prescriptions per 1000 patients in April 2020 (difference of -25.2 prescriptions per 1000 patients; 95% CI: -32.9 to -17.5). This was followed by a nonsignificant monthly increase in antibiotic prescriptions, with prescribing beginning to rebound from April to June 2021. Encounter volume also immediately decreased, and while overall encounter volume quickly started to recover, RTI encounter volume returned more slowly. CONCLUSIONS: Reductions in antibiotic prescribing in pediatric primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic were sustained, only beginning to rise in 2021, primarily driven by reductions in RTI encounters. Reductions in viral RTI transmission likely played a substantial role in reduced RTI visits and antibiotic prescriptions.


Subject(s)
Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Prescriptions/statistics & numerical data , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/statistics & numerical data , Primary Health Care , Child , Female , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Male , Pandemics , Pediatrics , Philadelphia/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies
11.
Aten Primaria ; 54(3): 102261, 2022 03.
Article in Spanish | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635965

ABSTRACT

Trend study of the consumption of systemic antibiotics in the adult population in of Primary Care of the Health Service of the Principality of Asturias (SESPA) during the period 2014̶2020. Retrospective observational study. SESPA, Primary Care. Population from the Individual Health Card database. Data were collected on the prescription of antibiotics, carried out in the family medicine consultations, dispensed in the pharmacy offices with charge of SESPA. Antibiotic use and consumption variables were analyzed using linear regression models. Prevalence of antibiotic use (population percentage); consumption rate of systemic antibiotics (DTD), relative consumption of narrow-spectrum antibiotics (percentage DDD). The average prevalence of the use of antibiotics for the 2014̶2019 period was 32.2% and 23.9% in 2020. The rate of consumption of systemic antibiotics decreased from 21.4 DTD in 2014 to 12.7 DTD in 2020. The consumption of narrow-spectrum antibiotics remained stable (19.4% DDD in 2014 and 19.3% DDD in 2020) (CI95: -0.10, 0.26). In the period from March to December 2020, the consumption of antibiotics decreased by 28.6% compared to the same period in 2019. In 2014̶2020, the consumption of antibiotics decreased, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, with stabilization of the consumption of narrow-spectrum antibiotics compared to the total. There is variability in consumption by therapeutic subgroups.


Subject(s)
Anti-Bacterial Agents , COVID-19 , Adult , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Prescriptions , Drug Utilization , Humans , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2
14.
PLoS Med ; 18(11): e1003829, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1595916

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The opioid epidemic in North America has been driven by an increase in the use and potency of prescription opioids, with ensuing excessive opioid-related deaths. Internationally, there are lower rates of opioid-related mortality, possibly because of differences in prescribing and health system policies. Our aim was to compare opioid prescribing rates in patients without cancer, across 5 centers in 4 countries. In addition, we evaluated differences in the type, strength, and starting dose of medication and whether these characteristics changed over time. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a retrospective multicenter cohort study of adults who are new users of opioids without prior cancer. Electronic health records and administrative health records from Boston (United States), Quebec and Alberta (Canada), United Kingdom, and Taiwan were used to identify patients between 2006 and 2015. Standard dosages in morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) were calculated according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Age- and sex-standardized opioid prescribing rates were calculated for each jurisdiction. Of the 2,542,890 patients included, 44,690 were from Boston (US), 1,420,136 Alberta, 26,871 Quebec (Canada), 1,012,939 UK, and 38,254 Taiwan. The highest standardized opioid prescribing rates in 2014 were observed in Alberta at 66/1,000 persons compared to 52, 51, and 18/1,000 in the UK, US, and Quebec, respectively. The median MME/day (IQR) at initiation was highest in Boston at 38 (20 to 45); followed by Quebec, 27 (18 to 43); Alberta, 23 (9 to 38); UK, 12 (7 to 20); and Taiwan, 8 (4 to 11). Oxycodone was the first prescribed opioid in 65% of patients in the US cohort compared to 14% in Quebec, 4% in Alberta, 0.1% in the UK, and none in Taiwan. One of the limitations was that data were not available from all centers for the entirety of the 10-year period. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed substantial differences in opioid prescribing practices for non-cancer pain between jurisdictions. The preference to start patients on higher MME/day and more potent opioids in North America may be a contributing cause to the opioid epidemic.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Drug Prescriptions/statistics & numerical data , Pain/drug therapy , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Canada , Cohort Studies , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Morphine/administration & dosage , Morphine/therapeutic use , Taiwan , United Kingdom , United States , Young Adult
15.
Trends Cardiovasc Med ; 32(1): 50-51, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1597073

Subject(s)
Drug Prescriptions , Humans
17.
Ophthalmology ; 129(3): 258-266, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540882

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Emerging evidence suggests that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is disrupting health behaviors such as medication adherence. The objective of this study was to determine whether adherence to ocular hypotensive medication was affected by the pandemic and to identify factors associated with this change. DESIGN: In this cohort study, we used a controlled interrupted time series design in which the interruption was the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States on March 13, 2020. The 300-day monitoring period, which evenly bracketed this declaration, started on October 16, 2019, and ended on August 10, 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Patients with primary open-angle glaucoma enrolled in an ongoing longitudinal National Institutes of Health-funded study initiated before the onset of the pandemic were selected if they were prescribed ocular hypotensive medication and had adherence data spanning the 300-day period. METHODS: We applied segmented regression analysis using a "slope change following a lag" impact model to obtain the adherence slopes in the periods before and after the segmentation. We compared the 2 slopes using the Davies test. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measure was daily adherence to ocular hypotensive medication, defined as the number of doses taken divided by the number of doses prescribed, expressed in percent. Adherence was measured objectively using Medication Event Monitoring System caps. We assessed the associations between change in adherence and demographic, clinical, and psychosocial factors. RESULTS: The sample included 79 patients (mean age, 71 years [standard deviation, 8 years]). Segmented regression identified a breakpoint at day 28 after the declaration of the pandemic. The slope in the period after the breakpoint (-0.04%/day) was significantly different from zero (P < 0.001) and from the slope in the period before the breakpoint (0.006%/day; P < 0.001). Mean adherence in the period before the segmentation breakpoint was significantly worse in Black patients (median, IQR: 80.6%, 36.2%) compared with White patients (median, IQR: 97.2%, 8.7%; chi-square, 15.4; P = 0.0004). A significant positive association was observed between the Connor-Davidson resilience score and the change in slope between the periods before and after the breakpoint (P = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to ocular hypotensive medication worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic and seems to be related to patient resilience. This collateral consequence of the pandemic may translate into vision loss that may manifest beyond its containment.


Subject(s)
Antihypertensive Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Glaucoma, Open-Angle/drug therapy , Medication Adherence/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Cohort Studies , Drug Prescriptions/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Intraocular Pressure , Male , Middle Aged , Ophthalmic Solutions , Patients/psychology , Psychology , Resilience, Psychological , United States/epidemiology
18.
Open Heart ; 8(2)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523054

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Health Service (NHS) recommended that appropriate patients anticoagulated with warfarin should be switched to direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs), requiring less frequent blood testing. Subsequently, a national safety alert was issued regarding patients being inappropriately coprescribed two anticoagulants following a medication change and associated monitoring. OBJECTIVE: To describe which people were switched from warfarin to DOACs; identify potentially unsafe coprescribing of anticoagulants; and assess whether abnormal clotting results have become more frequent during the pandemic. METHODS: With the approval of NHS England, we conducted a cohort study using routine clinical data from 24 million NHS patients in England. RESULTS: 20 000 of 164 000 warfarin patients (12.2%) switched to DOACs between March and May 2020, most commonly to edoxaban and apixaban. Factors associated with switching included: older age, recent renal function test, higher number of recent INR tests recorded, atrial fibrillation diagnosis and care home residency. There was a sharp rise in coprescribing of warfarin and DOACs from typically 50-100 per month to 246 in April 2020, 0.06% of all people receiving a DOAC or warfarin. International normalised ratio (INR) testing fell by 14% to 506.8 patients tested per 1000 warfarin patients each month. We observed a very small increase in elevated INRs (n=470) during April compared with January (n=420). CONCLUSIONS: Increased switching of anticoagulants from warfarin to DOACs was observed at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in England following national guidance. There was a small but substantial number of people coprescribed warfarin and DOACs during this period. Despite a national safety alert on the issue, a widespread rise in elevated INR test results was not found. Primary care has responded rapidly to changes in patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Anticoagulants/administration & dosage , Blood Coagulation/drug effects , COVID-19 , Drug Substitution/standards , Factor Xa Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Practice Guidelines as Topic/standards , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/standards , State Medicine/standards , Warfarin/administration & dosage , Aged , Anticoagulants/adverse effects , Blood Coagulation Tests , Drug Monitoring , Drug Prescriptions , Drug Substitution/adverse effects , Drug Utilization/standards , England , Factor Xa Inhibitors/adverse effects , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Safety , Primary Health Care/standards , Retrospective Studies , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , Warfarin/adverse effects
20.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 229(Pt A): 109176, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517124

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 and resulting mitigation measures in the United States (US) brought about limited access to medical care that has been linked to increases in mental health problems, excessive substance use, and drug overdoses. The increase in co-prescription of benzodiazepines and opioids may indicate population-level changes in health behaviors that can be exacerbated by limited access, hence necessitating the tracking of these drugs during COVID-19. We evaluated the impact of the declaration of COVID-19 as a US national emergency on prescription patterns in 2020. METHODS: Prescriptions of benzodiazepines and opioids were analyzed using data aggregated on a weekly basis across 38 states over the January 2019-December 2020 period. Data were from Bamboo Health Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and covered all individuals regardless of insurance status. Generalized additive models estimated the effects of the March 13, 2020 declaration on proportion of prescriptions to all controlled substances by comparing volumes before to after the week of March 13 in 2020 (range: January 27-May 24) and comparing this trend to its 2019 counterpart. RESULTS: When comparing the January 27-March 9 period to the March 16-May 24 period in 2020, there was a statistically significant 2.0% increase in the proportion of benzodiazepine dispensations to all controlled substances, and a significant 1.7% mean decrease in proportion of opioid dispensations to all controlled substances. A significant return approaching pre-declaration levels was observed only for opioids (beginning week of May 18, 2020). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on dispensations of benzodiazepines and opioids across the US. Continued monitoring of prescription trends and maintenance of adequate and accessible access to mental healthcare are important for understanding public health crises related to substance use.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid , COVID-19 , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Benzodiazepines , Controlled Substances , Drug Prescriptions , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
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