The California Workers’ Compensation Institute said on Wednesday that new data shows that the types of drugs used to treat injured workers have changed dramatically over the past 10 years, with opioids becoming less common and anti-inflammatory drugs accounting for an increasing proportion of prescriptions and drug payments.
The CWCI said that its analysis of trends for prescription drugs from 2012 to 2021 that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, surpassed opioids as the main drug group in 2016. In 2021, NSAIDs accounted for 34% of prescriptions sent to injured workers.
A review of prescriptions shows that most of the increase in NSAIDs was due to increased use of ibuprofen, which grew from 27% of NSAIDs in 2012 to 41.2% in 2021, making ibuprofen “the most widely used drug in work compensation, accounting for 14 , 1% of all prescriptions dispensed last year, well ahead of another NSAID, naproxen, which came in second place and accounted for 8.3% of prescriptions dispensed to injured workers, says the CWCI.
“Meanwhile, opioids’ share of workers’ prescriptions continued to decline, falling to 10.2% last year, although most of the decline in opioid use over the past decade occurred between 2012 and 2019, as opioids’ share of prescriptions has been relatively stable over the last decade. over the last three years, only a slight decrease from 11.7% to 10.2%. ”
Anticonvulsants, dermatologicals and antidepressants rounded out the five most commonly prescribed drugs in 2021, after NSAIDs and opioids.
“Like NSAIDs, anticonvulsants and dermatologicals are often used to treat pain, and their share of workers’ prescriptions has increased over the past decade, while the proportion of antidepressants, which ranged from 5.2% to 6.6% from 2012 to 2019, climbed to a record 8% in 2021 – the second year of the pandemic, “said CWCI.
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