Advances in prescription drug monitoring program research: a literature synthesis (June 2018 to December 2019)

Chris Delcher, Nathan Pauly, Patience Moyo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewNearly every U.S. state operates a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to monitor dispensing of controlled substances. These programs are often considered key policy levers in the ongoing polydrug epidemic. Recent years have seen rapid growth of peer-reviewed literature examining PDMP consultation and the impacts of these programs on diverse patient populations and health outcomes. This literature synthesis presents a review of studies published from June 2018 to December 2019 and provides relevant updates from the perspective of three researchers in this field.Recent findingsThe analyzed studies were primarily distributed across three overarching research focus areas: outcome evaluations (n = 29 studies), user surveys (n = 23), and surveillance (n = 22). Identified themes included growing awareness of the unintended consequences of PDMPs on access to opioids, effects on benzodiazepines and stimulant prescribing, challenges with workflow integration across multiple specialties, and new opportunities for applied data science.SummaryThere is a critical gap in existing PDMP literature assessing how these programs have impacted psychiatrists, their prescribing behaviors, and their patients. Although PDMPs have improved population-level monitoring of controlled substances from medical sources, their role in responding to a drug epidemic shifting to illicitly manufactured drugs is under scrutiny.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-333
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • controlled substances
  • evidence synthesis
  • opioid policy
  • prescription drug monitoring programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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