Do ER Physicians have to check CURES before they prescribe opioids?
The way it’s currently mandated, no; but should they? Let’s discuss!
CURES 2.0 or the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System database organizes Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance prescriptions dispensed by public health, regulatory oversight agencies, and law enforcement in the state of California
Dedicated to reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion CURES 2.0 works without affecting legitimate medical practice or patient care.
The information contained in CURES 2.0 is protected by HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and confidentiality and disclosure provisions of California law.
Access to CURES 2.0 is limited to licensed prescribers and licensed pharmacists strictly for patients in their direct care; and regulatory board staff and law enforcement personnel for official oversight or investigatory purposes.
ER Physicians & Opiods
There currently is no mandated requirement for ER physicians to check CURES prior to prescribing opioids to a patient. Studies have shown that patients are less likely to use opioids long term that are received in the ER. Contrary to the perception, ER Physicians are reportedly closely adhering to prescribing guidelines and they’re administering most opioid prescriptions for shorter durations, written for lower daily doses and are less likely to be for long-acting formulations.
That being said, California Attorney General’s office argues that doctors and pharmacies having access to controlled substance history information at the point of care will help them make informed decisions prescribing, which will furthermore reduce prescription drug abuse.
One of the most important things a physician can do to mitigate potentially adverse consequences of opioid prescribing is careful and thorough patient assessment. This is critical when considering long-term use of opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain, given the potential risks of opioid analgesics.
Should ER Physicians Check CURES?
For the sake of patient safety and risk management, most certainly. As it is a guideline and not yet a requirement it’s only suggested to use CURES in helping combat prescription drug abuse. Ultimately, this allows the physician to see if a patient is receiving controlled substances from other prescriptions in the state of California, provided that their prescription is filled at a Californian pharmacy. In part, it’s an opportunity to positively affect the Standard of Care if implemented.