When researchers classified Schedule II drugs into categories based on their active ingredients, the analysis found prescriptions and payments were concentrated in a relatively small number drug categories. Oxycodone -- which includes drugs such as OxyContin, Endocet and Percocet -- topped the list, accounting for more than half of all Schedule II prescriptions filled between 2005 and the third quarter of 2008, and nearly half of the Schedule II payments. This was followed by Fentanyl, which includes such drugs as Actiq, Duragesic and Fentora and represented about 15 percent of the Schedule II prescriptions, but nearly one-third of the Schedule II payments. Morphine, which ranked third, included drugs such as Avinza and Kadian and accounted for about 19 percent of scripts and 17 percent of the payments.
The study also found that the overall increase in Schedule II drugs in California did not result from a surge in the use of any one particular drug category, but from a sharp, across-the-board increase in the use of all categories, which have grown at similar rates.
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October 12, 2009
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