Assessing Prior Pain Visits and Medical History Risk Factors for Opioid Overdose

Opioid overdoses are a growing cause of mortality in the United States. Medical prescriptions for opioids are a risk factor for overdose. This observation raises concerns that patients may seek multiple opioid prescriptions, possibly increasing their overdose risk. One route for obtaining those prescriptions is visiting the emergency department (ED) for pain-related complaints. Here, two hypotheses related to prescription seeking and overdoses are tested. (1) Overdose patients have a larger number of prior ED visits than matched controls.

January 21, 2018

Heroin Overdose Hospitalization Risk due to Prescription Opioids using PDMP in WI.

Nationally and in Wisconsin, heroin is the leading cause of opioid related death and hospitalization. Opioids are commonly prescribed for pain. Every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids. In 2015, more than 15,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids. Approximately, three out of four heroin users report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin. In Wisconsin from 2010 to 2014 the number of deaths involving any opioid increased by 51% and for heroin increased by 192%.

January 21, 2018

Comparing Prescription Sales, Google Trends and CDC Data as Flu Activity Indicators

In a 2007 survey of public health officials in the United States, International Society for Disease Surveillance found that only 7% used pharmacy prescription sales data for surveillance (1). There have been many reports suggesting effective use of prescription sales data in syndromic surveillance (2, 3, 4, 5). Community pharmacies can provide a valuable supplementary tool for syndromic surveillance of infectious diseases.


May 22, 2018

Using Medications Sales from Retail Pharmacies for Syndromic Surveillance in Rural China

Drug sales data as an early indicator in syndromic surveillance has attracted particular interest in recent years, however previous studies were mostly conducted in developed countries or areas. In China, many people (around 60%) choose self-medication as their first option when they encounter a health problem, and electronic sales information system is gradually used by retail pharmacies, which makes drug sales data become a promising data source for syndromic surveillance in China.



July 13, 2018

Trends in Emergency Department Visits for Influenza-like Illness and Antiviral Medication Transactions

The electronic surveillance system for the early notification of community-based epidemics (ESSENCE) is the web-based syndromic surveillance system utilized by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). ESSENCE utilizes a secure, automated process for the transfer of data to the ESSENCE system that is consistent with federal standards for electronic disease surveillance.

May 02, 2019

Use of Laboratory Drug Sensitivity Tests and Prescription Practices in Malawi

Of the 13 million people in Malawi1 85% are rural and the country has high burden of under-five morbidity and mortality due to preventable infectious diseases. Respiratory, febrile and diarrhea diseases are the top 3 morbidity and mortality illnesses in most developing countries2. Acute medical care has greatly improved these conditions, but widespread and uncontrolled use of antibiotics threatens to reverse gains achieved so far. Drug sensitivity tests are a prerequisite to guide prescription practices.


May 02, 2019

A data simulation model using NRDM pharmaceutical sales counts

In disease surveillance, an outbreak is often present in more than one data type. If each data type is analyzed separately rather than combined, the statistical power to detect an outbreak may suffer because no single data source captures all the individuals in the outbreak. Researchers, thus, started to take multivariate approaches to syndromic surveillance. The data sources often analyzed include emergency department data, categorized by chief complaint; over-thecounter pharmaceutical sales data collected by the National Retail Data Monitor (NRDM), and some other syndromic data.

June 07, 2019

Clinical decision support at the time of an e-prescription can sustainably decrease unwarranted use of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections

Microorganisms resistant to antibiotics (ABX) increase the mortality, morbidity and costs of infections. In the absence of a drug development pipeline that can keep pace with the emerging resistancemechanisms, these organisms are expected to threaten public health for years to come. Because exposure to ABX promotes the development of bacterial resistance, health care providers have long been urged to avoid using antibiotics to treat conditions that they are unlikely to improve, including many uncomplicated acute respiratory infections.

June 14, 2019

Impact of including physician’s prescribing directions on calculations of medication possession ratios

Medication adherence studies typically use pharmacy-dispensing data to infer drug exposures. These studies often require calculations reflecting the intensity and duration of drug exposure. The typical approach to estimating duration of drug exposure is to use dispensing dates and day supply. Often, pharmacy databases have random and/or systematic errors causing improbable calculations. These errors become particularly problematic when estimating medication duration in drugs with complicated dosing schedules.

June 18, 2019

Syndromic Surveillance of Gastroenteritis Using Medication Sales in France

The interest of medication sales data in Syndromic Surveillance is well recognized. In France, where a real-time computerized surveillance system of frequent communicable diseases based on Sentinel general practitioners (SGPs) provides since 1984 a gold standard to evaluate other indicators, it has been shown that medication sales provided early alerts for influenza.

July 30, 2018


Contact Us

NSSP Community of Practice



This website is supported by Cooperative Agreement # 6NU38OT000297-02-01 Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation's Health between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC. CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance (accessibility) on private websites.

Site created by Fusani Applications