The aim of this project is to examine time trends in prescribing of analgesic and sedative medications in Ireland, how changes in health policies may have affected prescribing, and how prescribing varies between regions and GP practices. The goal is to inform future policies and planning of health services, and provide evidence which may be useful for individual prescribers to help benchmark prescribing in their practice.
Phases of the CDRx project
The project will involve a multidisciplinary team of researchers and will take place across 3 workpackages. These are summarised below, or you can read more about the project in our protocol, included on the publications page.
Workpackage 1 will consist of two repeated cross-sectional studies of prescribed medications dispensed to people eligible for the GMS (“medical card”) scheme in the years from 2014 to 2021. The first study will examine trends in benzodiazepine and sedative drugs, and the second will examine trends in analgesic and opioid medications for the same years, include high-risk use of these.
Workpackage 2 will consist of two interrupted time series studies on recent policy changes. The first one will examine the impact of the 2017 Misuse of Drug Regulations, while the second one concerns the introduction of an online reimbursement system for lidocaine patches. Monthly rates of dispensing will be summarised and analysed using segmented regression to assess the change in dispensing rates following each “intervention”.
Workpackage 3 will consist of a cohort study of GP practices, which will aim to establish the extent to which regions and GP practices vary in their prescribing of analgesics and sedatives and explore factors associated with the variation. It will also examine variation in response to the policy changes mentioned in workpackage 2.