The Danger of Combining Opioids and Benzodiazepines

 In Workers Compensation, Workplace

The opioid epidemic continues to be at the forefront of the national conversation, and related, worrisome trends are on the horizon. Cordant Health Solutions™ is working alongside providers and payers at the front lines of this battle, implementing strategies to address the epidemic and work with clients to improve workers’ compensation outcomes.

The FDA has recently expanded its warnings against using opioids and benzodiazepines together. This additional warning results from two studies that indicate an increase in concomitant opioid and benzodiazepine prescribing along with a simultaneous increase in the number of overdose deaths involving the two medication classes. This research is especially relevant in workers’ compensation because an injured worker on pain medications could also be taking other medications for comorbid conditions.

Recommended strategies to increase awareness of this dangerous combination include:

  • Educating injured workers to understand the risk of these medications
  • Ensuring all medications and other treating providers are disclosed to the workers’ compensation provider for safe prescribing
  • Utilizing case management or pharmacy review resources to formulate an action plan with the treating provider for tapering or weaning from medications
  • Monitoring compliance through urine or oral fluid drug testing

Many states are implementing guidelines and programs targeting appropriate prescribing by first understanding the injured workers’ risk levels. Common recommendations include prescriber actions such as checking the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, using risk assessment tools and screeners, and utilizing drug testing both to establish a baseline before prescribing as well as to monitor compliance.

Cordant’s medication monitoring program helps clients to stay compliant with state and nationally recognized guidelines. Starting with risk identification, we implement a testing protocol driven by the client in accordance with the appropriate treatment guidelines and working closely with treating providers to facilitate testing. The testing results are sent to the provider within 48-72 hours of receiving a sample, and the clinical lab report, along with Cordant’s RX Reveal® is sent to the adjuster.

RxReveal is specifically designed for our clients to easily identify any inconsistencies with injured worker results. This information offers actionable information to consider in the claim management and treatment process. The side-by-side comparison of medications and testing results offers an immediate view of injured worker compliance with their prescription treatment.

Cordant’s RX Reveal® displays an Rx alert when opioid(s) and benzodiazepine(s) are detected in a lab test to direct attention to this potentially deadly combination.

Contact us to learn how Cordant can help your claim management process and improve your injured worker compliance.

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