Impact of Schedule IV controlled substance classification on carisoprodol utilization in the United States: An interrupted time series analysis

Yan Li, C. Delcher, Joshua D. Brown, Yu Jung Wei, Gary M. Reisfield, Almut G. Winterstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: In January 2012, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classified carisoprodol as a Schedule IV controlled substance at the US federal level. We aimed to examine the effect of this policy on the use of carisoprodol in a commercially-insured population. Methods: This interrupted time series study included individuals with musculoskeletal disorders in the IBM MarketScan Commercial Database between December 2009 and February 2014. We used comparative segmented linear regression to assess changes in the proportions of patients who filled/newly filled carisoprodol each month. Results: A total of 13.3 million patients were included. 29 states with no scheduling prior to the DEA classification had lower baseline prevalence of carisoprodol use compared to 17 states that had scheduled carisoprodol individually before 2010 (11.0 vs. 21.1 patients with fills per 1000 patients). The federal scheduling was associated with an immediate decline (–1.12 per 1000 patients, p < 0.01) and decreasing trend in prevalence (–0.07 per 1000 patients per month, p = 0.02). This effect was not modified by existing state-level scheduling status. During the first, second, third, and fourth 6-month periods after federal scheduling, the relative difference between observed and predicted prevalence was 7.8%, 10.5%, 13.4%, and 19.8%. Similar patterns were observed for carisoprodol initiation. Overall, declining use was more pronounced among younger age groups and patients with injury. Conclusions: Schedule IV controlled substance classification at the federal level was associated with a moderate reduction in the dispensing of carisoprodol regardless of whether scheduling was already present at the state level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-177
Number of pages6
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


  • Carisoprodol
  • Controlled Substance Act
  • Controlled substance classification
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Drug schedules
  • Interrupted time series
  • Skeletal muscle relaxants
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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