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1.  The effect of an educational intervention on meperidine use in Nova Scotia, Canada: a time series analysis 
Purpose
To evaluate the impact of a prescriber focused individual educational and audit–feedback intervention undertaken by the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program (NSPMP) in March/April 2007 to reduce meperidine use.
Method
The NSPMP records all prescriptions for controlled substances dispensed in community pharmacies in Nova Scotia, Canada. Oral meperidine use from 1 July 2005 to 31 December 2009 was examined using NSPMP data. Monthly totals for the following were obtained: number of individual patients who filled at least one meperidine prescription, number of prescriptions, and number of tablets dispensed. Data were analyzed graphically to observe overall trends. The intervention effect was estimated on the logarithmic scale with autocorrelations over time modeled by an integrated autoregressive moving average model for each outcome measure.
Results
An overall trend toward decreasing use from July 2005 to December 2009 was apparent for all three outcome measures. The intervention was associated with a statistically significant reduction in meperidine use, after adjusting for the overall long-term trend. Compared with the pre-intervention period, the monthly number of patients declined by 12% (p <0.001; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 5%–18%), prescriptions by 10% (p <0.001; 95%CI = 3%–17%), and tablets by 13.5% (p <0.001, 95%CI = 6%–29%) in the post-intervention period.
Conclusion
Given the risks associated with meperidine, determining that this intervention successfully reduced meperidine use is encouraging. This study highlights the potential for using population data such as the NSPMP to evaluate the effectiveness of population-level interventions to improve medication use, including professional, organizational, financial, and regulatory initiatives.
doi:10.1002/pds.2259
PMCID: PMC3747098  PMID: 22081471 CAMSID: cams3253
educational intervention; meperidine; pethidine; time series analysis
2.  Population prevalence of high dose paracetamol in dispensed paracetamol/opioid prescription combinations: an observational study 
Background
Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is generally considered a safe medication, but is associated with hepatotoxicity at doses above doses of 4.0 g/day, and even below this daily dose in certain populations.
Methods
The Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program (NSPMP) in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia is a legislated organization that collects dispensing information on all out-of-hospital prescription controlled drugs dispensed for all Nova Scotia residents. The NSPMP provided data to track all paracetamol/opioids redeemed by adults in Nova Scotia, from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2010. Trends in the number of adults dispensed these prescriptions and the numbers of prescriptions and tablets dispensed over this period were determined. The numbers and proportions of adults who filled prescriptions exceeding 4.0 g/day and 3.25 g/day were determined for the one-year period July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. Data were stratified by sex and age (<65 versus 65+).
Results
Both the number of prescriptions filled and the number of tablets dispensed increased over the study period, although the proportion of the adult population who filled at least one paracetamol/opioid prescription was lower in each successive one-year period. From July 2009 to June 2010, one in 12 adults (n = 59,197) filled prescriptions for over 13 million paracetamol/opioid tablets. Six percent (n = 3,786) filled prescriptions that exceeded 4.0 g/day and 18.6% (n = 11,008) exceeded 3.25 g/day of paracetamol at least once. These findings exclude non-prescription paracetamol and paracetamol–only prescribed medications.
Conclusions
A substantial number of individuals who redeem prescriptions for paracetamol/opioid combinations may be at risk of paracetamol-related hepatotoxicity. Healthcare professionals must be vigilant when prescribing and dispensing these medications in order to reduce the associated risks.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-12-11
PMCID: PMC3416683  PMID: 22709372

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