DrFirst study reveals that only a quarter of those taking opioids store them properly

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ROCKVILLE, Md. –  In the midst of the war against opioid addiction, most Americans don’t recognize if they are prescribed an opioid, according to a new survey by health technology pioneer DrFirst.

The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults—which looked at Americans’ opinions, knowledge, and usage of opioid-containing medications—discovered that almost a quarter of Americans had been prescribed an opioid in the past 12 months. Additionally, 84% of Americans said they didn’t fill one or more prescription(s) in the past 12 months, and 21% of them said the unfilled prescription(s) were for opioid medications.

Americans Aren’t Sure What’s an Opioid and What’s Not

The survey reveals a significant lack of understanding about opioids. While more than three-quarters (76%) of Americans think they know whether or not they are prescribed an opioid, only 22% of them could successfully identify seven commonly prescribed opioids. The following medications were misidentified as not containing opioids:

• Tramadol (44%)

• Hydromorphone (32%)

• Morphine sulfate (27%)

• Methadone (27%)

• Hydrocodone (23%)

• Fentanyl (22%)

• Oxycodone (15%)


Additionally, Americans also misidentified many non-opioid medications as containing opioids, including:

• Hydrocortisone (31%)

• Hyaluronic acid (23%)

• Omeprazole (33%)

• Oxymetolazine (56%)

• Oxytocin (73%)

• Trazodone (46%)


Most Americans Are Not Storing Opioids Safely

Many of those surveyed take the threat of opioid addiction seriously. Of those with children, 65% say they’ve spoken to their kids about the dangers of opioid abuse. While more than 20% of Americans say they were prescribed an opioid in the past 12 months, fewer than a quarter (23%) of them report storing it in a locked cabinet, as recommended by safety experts. Others say they keep them:

• In a nightstand table (14%)

• On the kitchen table (13%)

• In a bathroom cabinet (13%)

• In a purse or backpack (10%)

•  On a bathroom counter (10%)


“American consumers have some significant and dangerous misunderstandings about which medicines contain opioids,” said Dr. Colin Banas, vice president of clinical product solutions for DrFirst. “This is concerning because patients need to know if they are prescribed an opioid so they can use and store it safely. It should be a wake-up call to physicians and pharmacists, who should not assume their patients know this information,” he added. DrFirst’s iPrescribe can help, according to Banas. “When a doctor uses iPrescribe, patients receive confirmation messages that will alert them if their medicine contains an opioid and includes a link to educational information.”

The company’s award-winning iPrescribe mobile app allows doctors to easily write electronic prescriptions anywhere anytime. The app is simple to use and offers premiere features, including real-time access to patients’ medication histories, benefits, and copay information; alerts for drug interactions and allergies; and a Patient Finder tool that pre-populates the app with relevant data. iPrescribe can be used as a supplement to clinicians’ EHR and EMR systems to easily e-prescribe wherever they are, even if they are away from their offices and don’t have convenient access to these systems.


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