Morphine Equivalency Calculator

West Virginia is making it easier for physicians and pharmacists to determine a patient’s morphine equivalent doses when taking multiple opioids.  By creating a calculator tool that will automatically pull records of all prescribed opioid medications for a patient from the Controlled Substance Monitoring Program (administered by the Board of Pharmacy) and calculate a dosage amount by each specific opioid the patient fills. The dosage amount will be converted to a morphine milligram equivalent score using formulas and conversion equations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The score will be a standard, comparable measurement that will provide the potency of the combined medications the patient is taking. The score will be present at the top of the patient’s profile on the state’s database. The goal of this tool is to provide useful information for the prescriber and pharmacist to quickly see the total opioid usage by the patient.

The tool prevents patients from being overprescribed opioids by going to different pharmacies and prescribers, which should prevent some cases of addiction and abuse. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office has paid out $40,000 from its consumer protection fund to build the calculator and The Board of Pharmacy will cover the ongoing costs of the project. PHSI believes this is a positive step using the WV Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to present the current morphine milligram equivalents to prescribers to provide a complete picture of the patient’s opioid therapy.  Do you think this will impact the prescribing of opioids in West Virginia?

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