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The extent and correlates of community‐based pharmaceutical opioid utilisation in Australia

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Purpose

    There has been concern regarding the increasing use of opioids and related harm. We present data on opioid utilisation across Australia and consider sociodemographic factors that may affect utilisation rates.

    Methods

    IMS Health national sales data for over‐the‐counter (codeine) and prescription opioids (buprenorphine, codeine, dextropropoxyphene, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, tapentadol and tramadol) were used to estimate total utilisation rates in the community during 2013, mapped to Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and Remoteness Areas. All opioid amounts were measured in pack sales and milligrammes then converted to oral morphine equivalent milligrammes (OME mg) for comparison across opioids. Data on the demographic characteristics of SLAs were obtained from the ABS (sex and age distribution, income and levels of physical labour) and other sources (number of pharmacies in SLAs) and were included in linear regression analyses.

    Results

    In 2013, an estimated 10 747 kg (OME) of opioids were sold across Australia, equating to 481 OME mg per person. There was considerable geographic variation in opioid utilisation, with higher rates of use in rural and regional areas. Geographic areas that were less populated, had more men and older people, proportionally more low‐income earning households and greater proportions in jobs requiring physical labour had higher utilisation rates.

    Conclusions

    Substantial geographic variation in opioid utilisation was identified, with areas outside of major cities having higher rates of utilisation of all types of opioids. Prescription monitoring and best practice interventions aimed at improving opioid use need to have a particular focus on areas outside of major cities.

Authors


  •   Degenhardt, Louisa (external author)
  •   Gisev, Natasa (external author)
  •   Cama, Elena (external author)
  •   Nielsen, Suzanne (external author)
  •   Larance, Briony
  •   Bruno, Raimondo (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Degenhardt, L., Gisev, N., Cama, E., Nielsen, S., Larance, B. & Bruno, R. (2016). The extent and correlates of community‐based pharmaceutical opioid utilisation in Australia. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 25 (5), 521-538.

Number Of Pages


  • 17

Start Page


  • 521

End Page


  • 538

Volume


  • 25

Issue


  • 5

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • Purpose

    There has been concern regarding the increasing use of opioids and related harm. We present data on opioid utilisation across Australia and consider sociodemographic factors that may affect utilisation rates.

    Methods

    IMS Health national sales data for over‐the‐counter (codeine) and prescription opioids (buprenorphine, codeine, dextropropoxyphene, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, tapentadol and tramadol) were used to estimate total utilisation rates in the community during 2013, mapped to Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and Remoteness Areas. All opioid amounts were measured in pack sales and milligrammes then converted to oral morphine equivalent milligrammes (OME mg) for comparison across opioids. Data on the demographic characteristics of SLAs were obtained from the ABS (sex and age distribution, income and levels of physical labour) and other sources (number of pharmacies in SLAs) and were included in linear regression analyses.

    Results

    In 2013, an estimated 10 747 kg (OME) of opioids were sold across Australia, equating to 481 OME mg per person. There was considerable geographic variation in opioid utilisation, with higher rates of use in rural and regional areas. Geographic areas that were less populated, had more men and older people, proportionally more low‐income earning households and greater proportions in jobs requiring physical labour had higher utilisation rates.

    Conclusions

    Substantial geographic variation in opioid utilisation was identified, with areas outside of major cities having higher rates of utilisation of all types of opioids. Prescription monitoring and best practice interventions aimed at improving opioid use need to have a particular focus on areas outside of major cities.

Authors


  •   Degenhardt, Louisa (external author)
  •   Gisev, Natasa (external author)
  •   Cama, Elena (external author)
  •   Nielsen, Suzanne (external author)
  •   Larance, Briony
  •   Bruno, Raimondo (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Degenhardt, L., Gisev, N., Cama, E., Nielsen, S., Larance, B. & Bruno, R. (2016). The extent and correlates of community‐based pharmaceutical opioid utilisation in Australia. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 25 (5), 521-538.

Number Of Pages


  • 17

Start Page


  • 521

End Page


  • 538

Volume


  • 25

Issue


  • 5

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom