Advanced Opioid Management®

Advanced Opioid Management, a solution from Express Scripts PBM, an Evernorth company, is a clinically sound approach focused on driving change in our nation’s opioid misuse crisis.

Physician sharing prescription with patient
Man in arm sling prescription bag

The Impact of the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have collided, creating the perfect-storm of challenges for those already struggling with drug misuse, and triggering new misuse for those who don’t know where to turn.

In 2020, there were more than 92,000 drug overdose deaths—an estimated 250 each day or 11 every hour—the highest number ever recorded.1 Opioid abuse also takes an economic toll on the nation. Absenteeism and decreases in labor force participation due to nonmedical opioid use cost the U.S. $79 billion from 2015 to 2018.2

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021.
2. Economic Costs of the Opioid Crisis for Employers, 2020.

Focusing on Abuse Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Advanced Opioid Management—a nationally recognized solution—maximizes safety across the care continuum, helping shield clients and their members by minimizing early opioid and opioid adjacent therapy exposure, as well as encouraging treatment and recovery for those patients already suffering from opioid use disorder.

This solution takes a uniquely comprehensive and proactive approach—managing new and acute users; short-term or intermittent users; chronic users; and individuals who are misusing/abusing. We address potential behavior and safety gaps at each touch point:

  • At the doctor’s office
  • At the pharmacy
  • With the patient

As a clinically-driven solution, Advanced Opioid Management has been designed to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which provides guidance to primary care clinicians prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

Physician discussing with patient health prevention and recovery
Meaningful impact and influence across the care continuum

At the doctor's office:

Alerts sent when patient activity indicates potential abuse

Prescriber education and peer comparison

Alerts sent suggesting proactive naloxone therapy, where appropriate

Enhanced Fraud, Waste & Abuse lock-in, where appropriate

Alerts sent when opioids are prescribed to patients with mental health or prenatal vitamin prescriptions

Alerts sent when members are demonstrating poor adherence to Medication Assisted Treatment

With the patient:

Informational letter detailing the risks of opioid use

Proactive Express Scripts Neuroscience Therapeutic Research Center® pharmacist outreach, including Medication Assisted Treatment support

Supply of drug disposal bags, when needed, reducing the chance for excessive use or diversion

Case management support for members whose prescription history triggered an intervention that locked them into a single provider or pharmacy to help prevent fraud, waste, and abuse

Mental health, suicide and additional hotline information delivered to patients

At the pharmacy:

Supply limits for adults1 and children2 initiating opioid therapy for each of their first 4 fills

Prior authorization required for members starting opioids who accumulate > 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME)

Prior authorization required for members who accumulate > 200MME

Prior authorization on first fill of a long-acting opioid to encourage a safe start

Safer fentanyl utilization initiatives

Opioid adjacent therapy quantity limits

1. 7-day supply; Not to exceed 28 days in 60-day period
2. 3-day supply; Not to exceed 12 days in a 60-day period

Advanced Opioid Management Proven Success



reduction in the average MME for first-time opioid users with prescriptions above our threshold, with 95% of first-time users dispensed an Rx at or below 90mg MME1

1. Advanced Opioid Management, 90 MME rule – BoB data 9/2019-12/2020



reduction in the average day supply per short-acting opioid claim for first-time users with prescriptions above our threshold2




success rate for patients that were dispensed a 7-day supply or less of medications2

2. Advanced Opioid Management, Short Acting Fill Limit rules – BoB data 8/2019-12/2020

Watch our video to learn how, together, we can continue to fight the opioid epidemic.

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