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5 Questions to ask your doctor about opioids

Posted at 2:17 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 16:17:51-05

Regence BlueCross BlueShield is a part of the 'Use Only As Directed' partnership with Intermountain Healthcare and SelectHealth.

They co-sponsor the innovative banners that educate people about opioid risks through an augmented reality experience.  Other sponsorships include safe medication disposal kiosks at Walgreens and DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Days.

Dr. Amy Khan MD MPH, is Executive Medical Director of Regence BlueCross BlueShield, and joined us to talk about the importance of patient education and having a conversation with your health care provider about opioids.

Dr. Khan says only 48 percent of Utahns talk to their doctors about the risk associated with opioids.  She recommends you ask these five questions before you are given a prescription for an opioid.

1. Am I at risk for addiction?
2. Will something else work?
3. How long will I be taking them?
4. Are you prescribing the lowest possible dose?
5. What`s the plan to taper me off?

Regence BlueCross BlueShield also encourages doctors and dentists to prescribe responsibly, and limit opioid quantities to no more than seven days for acute pain.

Regence monitors opioid prescriptions for its members and shares resulting data with prescribers.  This helps them make more informed decisions, improve patient outcomes and reduce harm.

They also use technology to alert pharmacists when opioid prescriptions are high doseage, used in combination with other drugs, or patients visit multiple physicians or pharmacies.

These efforts drove a 39 percent reduction in opoid prescriptions in 2018 and similar success for 2019.

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