What Every Patient Should Know About NarxCare — Pain News Network – May 2018 – by Rochelle Odell
Recent studies question the value of PDMP’s, but 49 states have implemented them so that physicians, pharmacists and insurers can see a patient’s medication history.
What is NarxCare? Appriss Health developed NarxCare as a “robust analytics tool” to help “care teams” (doctors, pharmacists, etc.) identify patients with substance use disorders.
Each patient is evaluated and given a “risk score” based on their prescription drug history. According to Appriss, a patient is much more willing to discuss their substance abuse issues once they are red flagged as a possible abuser.
“NarxCare automatically analyzes PDMP data and a patient’s health history and provides patient risk scores and an interactive visualization of usage patterns to help identify potential risk factors,” the company says on its website.
“NarxCare aids care teams in clinical decision making, provides support to help prevent or manage substance use disorder, and empowers states with the comprehensive platform they need to take to the next step in the battle against prescription drug addiction.”
I’ve seen numerous reports about studies finding that prescription database monitoring programs (PDMP) only increased the number of overdoses as both users and abusers of opioids were forced into the black market to source the opioids they need.
- The Lethal Success of Pain Pill Restrictions
- Effect of PDMPs on Drug Overdoses
- Opioid Tracking Is Killing Americans
Sounds great doesn’t it? Except prescription drugs are not the problem and never really have been. Illicit drug use has, is, and will continue to be the main cause of the addiction and overdose crisis.
Each patient evaluated by NarxCare gets a “Narx Report” that includes their NarxScores, Overdose Risk Score, Rx Graph, PDMP Data and my favorite, the Red Flags. The scores are based on the past two years of a patient’s prescription history, as well as their medical claims, electronic health records and even their criminal history.
Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and several other states are using NarxCare to supplement their own PDMPs. And Walmart isn’t the only big retail company to adopt it. Kroger, Ralphs, Kmart, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens are already using NarxCare. There’s a good chance your prescriptions are already being tracked by NarxCare and you don’t even know it.
But NarxCare doesn’t just analyze opioid prescriptions. It also tracks other controlled substances, such as antidepressants, sedatives and stimulants.
If a patient is on any combination of those drugs, their risk scores and their chances of being red flagged will be higher – even if they’ve been safely taking the medications for years.
Since pain and depression are so closely related, it’s safe to assume that a large percentage of pain patients should also be taking an anti-depressant, so this goes against the current established practices.
NarxCare has now created a fail-safe way to make money: by finding all chronic pain patients and making up a reason to indicate they are “at risk” of addiction.
I first blogged about this prescription monitoring “tool” in 2015: NARxCHECK – another barrier between patients and pain meds, and showed how this company is typical of the huge number of new businesses eager to reap a profit from our misery.
How can raw data on prescription medications be an indicator of abuse? I believe there is some merit in tracking and weeding out the rare abuser, but NarxCare doesn’t factor in all the “what if’s” that can happen to law-abiding and responsible patients.
I intend to ask my physician, pharmacist and case manager if they utilize NarxCare. So should you.
If they say yes, ask them why.
Ask your doctor if they believe you are at risk for substance use disorder. Why is their judgement and treatment of you being second guessed by anyone?
Author: Rochelle Odell lives in California. She’s lived for nearly 25 years with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS/RSD).