Study links overdose deaths to visiting multiple doctors, pharmacies

September 12, 2012

Morgantown, WV – Visiting multiple doctors or pharmacies – without coordinating that care – to obtain controlled substances has been linked to a greater risk of prescription drug overdose death, according to a study from West Virginia University.

Studying drug-related death data and information from the West Virginia Controlled Substance Monitoring Program, researchers found “doctor shoppers” accounted for one-quarter of 698 deaths during a 2.5-year period and “pharmacy shoppers” accounted for more than one-sixth, a study abstract stated.

Researchers said prescription monitoring programs may be helpful in identifying potential shoppers, and doctors and pharmacists should improve communication and collaboration.

The study was published in the June issue of the journal Medical Care.