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Coventry Workers’ Comp Services prepared a in a new 2013 First Script Drug Trends Analysis of workers’ compensation prescription drug utilization. While the cost and utilization per workers compensation claimant for narcotics have decreased 3.3%, the report concludes that the cost per prescription has increased by 5.3%. A few trend highlights from this year’s report include:

1) Claimants using narcotics across the First Script book of business have declined 9.1%
2) The top 10 drugs remained consistent; however, the top two most prescribed narcotics declined from 2012
3) Oxycontin®, Vicodin® and Opana® ER had decreases in utilization and spend from the prior year
4) The number of narcotic prescriptions remained relatively flat in newer claims (years 1-4), demonstrating the ongoing effectiveness of early intervention programs
5) The cost per narcotic script decreased year-over-year for all claim years (1-10), when normalized for inflation
6) Focused attention on decreasing narcotics resulted in utilization increases across adjuvant medications to support pain management
7) Average Wholesale Price (AWP) increased 12.5% in 2013, the greatest increase in the past four years
8) Generic utilization and efficiency continue to improve.

Anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotics and sedatives/hypnotics all followed a similar pattern, with decreases in cost and utilization per claimant and increases in cost per script, according to the report, which was compiled using prescriptions billed through Coventry’s pharmacy management program, First Script, in 2013.

The top 10 medications by volume have remained consistent, but the two most prescribed narcotics – Vicodin and Percocet – continue to decline, the report found. Meanwhile, utilization of other drugs in the top 10, including Neurontin, Ultram, Flexeril and Motrin, continue to increase.

According to the analysis, Oxycontin, which isn’t among the top 10 most popular medications, has decreased in utilization and spend since 2012 and makes up less than 2% of total utilization.