Thursday, June 9, 2022 - 06:15

New data shows the types of drugs used to treat injured workers in California, and the distribution of payments for those medications, has shifted over the past decade, with opioids becoming far less prevalent and anti-inflammatory drugs accounting for an increasing share of the prescriptions and the total drug spend within the workers’ comp system.

Updated figures from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute ranks the top 10 therapeutic drug categories in the state’s workers’ comp system based on the volume of prescriptions and total reimbursements.

CWCI analysts compared the distributions of drugs dispensed from 2012 through 2021 to track how the mix of prescription drugs and drug payments in the system changed over the past decade. They noted more recent trends in prescription drug utilization and reimbursement.

The results show that NSAIDs, often used as non-narcotic alternatives to treat pain, surpassed opioids to become the top workers’ comp drug group in 2016, and in 2021 these alternatives increased to a record 34.0% of the prescriptions dispensed to injured workers in California.

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