Monitoring of drug misuse or potential misuse in a nationwide healthcare insurance database: A cross-sectional study in France

Therapie. 2019 Sep;74(4):469-476. doi: 10.1016/j.therap.2018.12.007. Epub 2018 Dec 30.


Aim of the study: To provide a tool for drug misuse or potential misuse monitoring by using a healthcare insurance database.

Methods: A cross-sectional study repeated quarterly from 2007 to 2014 was conducted using data from a 1/97th random sample of the French national healthcare reimbursement system. For each drug studied, ad hoc indicators were designed to assess drug misuse, defined as prescriptions that did not comply with the label stipulated in the summary of product characteristics, in terms of the drug (e.g., interactions) or the patient (age, medical history). We focused on specifically identified situations of drug misuse involving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antiemetics in patients with Parkinson's disease and antipsychotics in pediatrics; we also focused on direct anticoagulants, asthma and oral antidiabetic drugs but results for these latter are only shown in supplementary materials.

Results: At-risk prescribing of NSAIDs in patients treated by diuretics or renin-angiotensin system inhibitors always remained higher than 14% over the study (maximum: 19%; 2014 quarter 4: 15.4%). Off-label prescribing of contraindicated anti-dopaminergic antiemetics with dopaminergic antiparkinson drugs was marginal (maximum: 2.2%; 2014 quarter 4: 0.5%) but represented at least 5.5% of antiemetic prescriptions. Despite the rise in antipsychotic prescriptions in pediatrics, no dramatic increase in misuse related to age was observed during the study period (2007 quarter 1: 16.1%; 2014 quarter 4: 11.1%). The highest degree of misuse was observed for aripiprazole and for second-generation antipsychotics other than risperidone and aripiprazole.

Conclusion: This study provides a simple tool to monitor drug misuse or potential misuse using information from a health insurance database. The results highlight the need for the Regulator to rethink risk management information campaigns and to modify the official information on products.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory agents; Antiemetics; Antipsychotic agents; Drug misuse; Health; Insurance; Non-steroidal; Pharmacoepidemiology; Reimbursement.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Misuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Review / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult