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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law legislation that limits the number of days a first-fill prescription for opioids can be prescribed in the state and strengthens rules the require doctors to access a drug monitoring database before prescribing.
Signed into law on Monday was House Bill 192, which implements a seven-day limit on first-time prescriptions of opioids for acute pain.
The bill makes a provision for chronic pain: “If, in the professional medical judgment of a medical practitioner, more than a seven-day supply of an opioid is required to treat the adult or minor patient's acute medical condition … the practitioner may issue a prescription for the quantity needed to treat the patient's acute medical condition or pain. … (it) shall be documented in the patient's medical record and the practitioner shall indicate that a nonopioid alternative was not appropriate to address the medical condition.”
The prescriber-limit law goes into effect Aug. 1.
Also signed into law was Senate Bill 55, which requires doctors to check the prescription monitoring database before prescribing an opioid to a patient and to re-check the system every 90 days, in an effort to avoid the practice of doctor-shopping, which lawmakers argued helped fuel the opioid epidemic. That law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Workers compensation experts have said similar opioid legislation — as passed this year in states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey — will affect doctors who prescribe to injured workers.
Early intervention is the latest trend in opioid prescription management for injured workers’ claims, according to experts.