Features  |   September 2017
Compounded Topical Analgesics: Raising Awareness and Understanding
Author Affiliations
  • David M. Dickerson, M.D.
    Committee on Pain Medicine
Article Information
Pain Medicine / Pharmacology / Features
Features   |   September 2017
Compounded Topical Analgesics: Raising Awareness and Understanding
ASA Monitor 09 2017, Vol.81, 20-21.
ASA Monitor 09 2017, Vol.81, 20-21.
As the nation responds to the prescription opioid epidemic, the focus on alternative pain management strategies has led to a dramatic rise in the prescriptions for compounded medications, specifically topical analgesic agents. A report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that Medicare part D spending for com-pounded topical drugs increased by 3,466 percent from 2006 to 2015.1  Since 2006, the 281 percent increase in prescribing and 720 percent rise in the average cost of these prescriptions have contributed to the gross increase in spending. The 2016 OIG report further details striking geographic variation in prescribing. Florida, Texas and California have registered cases of insurance fraud related to the prescriptions of com-pounded topical analgesic products.2  From kickback schemes to unwarranted prescribing, the burgeoning use of topical compounded analgesic creams is under significant scrutiny.
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