On Wednesday April 14, myMatrixx Chief Clinical Officer, Phil Walls, was joined by Marcos Iglesias MD, Chief Medical Director of the Travelers and Constitution State Services to discuss the interaction between behavioral health and chronic pain management in workers’ compensation. The presentation, Navigating the Intersection of Pain Management and Psychotropic Drugs, was held as part of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference’s (NWCDC) ongoing Digital Sessions Series. During the panel, the two experts examined the types of psychotropic drugs that claims professionals most commonly encounter, including those used off-label, and effective strategies for managing safety and cost considerations.
Mental health is a growing concern that requires more attention — only 40% of the 39 million adults in the United States who experience a mental health event actually receive treatment. In workers’ compensation, where so many injured workers deal with chronic pain, treated and untreated mental health conditions are associated with high claim costs over long periods of time. According to Walls and Dr. Iglesias, certain drug combinations, such as opioids and benzodiazepines, require particular attention from both a patient safety and cost standpoint.
Another key topic in the presentation was off-label drug use. According to research, 73% of medications prescribed for an off-label use, such as using a drug for longer than indicated or to treat a different condition, had poor or no scientific support. This critical aspect of drug therapy covered by Walls and Dr. Iglesias also received attention in an article on WorkersCompensation.com published after the panel. You can view the presentation in full and download slides on the NWCDC website.