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Let’s Dive Into What Ix NarxCare & How It Impacts Patients & Medical Service Providers

Key Point Description
Purpose of NarxCare NarxCare scores help healthcare providers assess patient risk for substance misuse by using a sophisticated algorithm.
Score Components Scores are calculated from prescription history data including opioids, sedatives, and stimulants.
Impact on Patients A high score may affect a patient’s access to medications, influencing their treatment plans.
Impact on Healthcare Providers Providers use scores to make informed prescribing decisions and manage risk.
Controversies and Challenges The score system has been critiqued for potential bias and privacy concerns.

What is a NarxCare Score?

NarxCare is an analytical tool used by healthcare providers to evaluate the risk of substance misuse among patients. It aggregates data from prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to generate a numeric score that indicates the likelihood of prescription drug abuse or misuse. This score is often utilized in clinical settings to assist medical professionals in making informed decisions about prescribing controlled substances.


When Was It Created?

“NarxCare was created on October 29, 2019, by the Department of Consumer Protection’s Drug Control Division. NarxCare is a care management platform and analytics tool that helps dispensers and prescribers analyze controlled substance data from Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) in real-time.” Source.


How NarxCare Scores Are Calculated

NarxCare scores are derived from a patient’s medication history, focusing primarily on three categories: opioids, sedatives, and stimulants. Each category has its own score based on the types and quantities of medications prescribed, the number of prescribers involved, and the dispensing pharmacies’ data.

  • Opioids: Measures the frequency and quantity of opioid prescriptions.
  • Sedatives: Accounts for prescriptions of sedative medications, often scrutinized for their potential for dependency.
  • Stimulants: Includes data on prescribed stimulant drugs, which are also monitored for abuse patterns.

These scores are then compiled to produce an overall risk score. The higher the score, the greater the potential risk for substance misuse as perceived by the tool.

Impacts on Patients

For patients, NarxCare scores can have significant implications:

  • Access to Medications: High scores may lead to restricted access to necessary pain medications, potentially affecting patient care and quality of life.
  • Treatment Plans: Healthcare providers might alter treatment plans based on NarxCare scores, sometimes opting for non-opioid pain management strategies.
  • Privacy Concerns: Patients have expressed concerns about privacy and the implications of having a high NarxCare score, which could be seen by multiple healthcare providers.

Impacts on Healthcare Providers

Doctors and pharmacists use NarxCare scores to:

  • Guide Prescribing Decisions: Scores provide a reference point for prescribing controlled substances, helping to reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse.
  • Manage Patient Risk: Providers can monitor patient risk over time and adjust treatment plans accordingly to prevent substance misuse.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Using NarxCare helps comply with state and federal regulations aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic.

Challenges and Controversies

While NarxCare is a valuable tool for many healthcare providers, it is not without its challenges:

  • Potential for Bias: Critics argue that the algorithms could inadvertently perpetuate biases against certain populations.
  • Accuracy and Privacy: Concerns about the accuracy of the data used to calculate scores and the privacy of sensitive health information are prevalent among skeptics.
  • Dependence on Scores: Over-reliance on NarxCare scores may lead to situations where clinical judgment is overshadowed by algorithmic output.



Do Patients Have the Right to View Their Own PDMP Record?

Yes, patients do have the right to view their own PDMP records. Most states in the U.S. have established laws that allow patients to access their prescription drug history as recorded in the PDMP. This transparency is intended to ensure that patients can review their records for accuracy and completeness and request corrections if necessary. To view their records, patients typically need to follow specific procedures, which may involve submitting a formal request to the state health department or the agency managing the PDMP.

How Far Back Can Doctors See Prescription History?

The look-back period within which doctors can view a patient’s prescription history varies by state but generally ranges from one to five years. This capability allows healthcare providers to assess long-term prescription trends and make better-informed decisions regarding patient care. The specific duration depends on state regulations governing the PDMP and the policies of the healthcare institution.

What Types of Prescriptions Are Tracked by the PDMP?

PDMPs track prescriptions for controlled substances, which typically include:

  • Opioids: Such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl. These are monitored closely due to their high potential for addiction and abuse.
  • Sedatives: Including benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), which are used to treat conditions such as anxiety and insomnia.
  • Stimulants: Prescriptions for drugs like amphetamine and methylphenidate, used primarily to treat ADHD.
  • Other Controlled Substances: Certain other drugs that fall under the controlled substances category by the DEA are also tracked. This can include some barbiturates and certain non-benzodiazepine sleep aids.

Each state’s PDMP program may have specific lists of what is tracked, generally adhering to the schedules defined by the Controlled Substances Act, which categorizes drugs based on their acceptable medical use and potential for abuse.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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