BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Anti-inflammatory drugs most common prescription in Calif. comp

anti-inflammatory drugs

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute on Wednesday said new data shows the types of drugs used to treat injured workers have shifted dramatically over the last 10 years, with opioids becoming less prevalent and anti-inflammatory drugs accounting for an increasing share of prescriptions and drug payments. 

CWCI said its analysis of prescription drug trends from 2012 through 2021 that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, surpassed opioids as the top drug group in 2016. In 2021, NSAIDs accounted for 34% of prescriptions dispensed to injured workers. 

A review of prescriptions shows that most of the growth in NSAIDs resulted from increased use of ibuprofen, which grew from 27% of NSAIDS in 2012 to 41.2% in 2021, making ibuprofen “the most heavily used drug in workers compensation, accounting for 14.1% of all prescriptions dispensed last year, ranking well ahead of another NSAID, naproxen, which ranked second, accounting for 8.3% of the prescriptions dispensed to injured workers,” CWCI said.  

“Meanwhile, opioids’ share of the workers comp prescriptions continued to decline, falling to 10.2% last year, though most of the decline in opioid use within the past decade occurred between 2012 and 2019, as opioids’ share of the prescriptions has been relatively stable over the past three years, only edging down slightly from 11.7% to 10.2%.” 

Anticonvulsants, dermatologicals and antidepressants rounded out the top five most prescribed drugs in 2021, behind NSAIDs and opioids. 

“Like NSAIDs, anticonvulsants and dermatologicals are often used to treat pain, and their share of the workers comp prescriptions has risen over the past decade, while antidepressants’ share, which ranged between 5.2% and 6.6% from 2012 through 2019, climbed to a record 8% in 2021 — the second year of the pandemic,” CWCI said.  

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.