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Long-term drug use question

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    Last edited by; 01-11-2019 at 12:36 PM. Reason: Want to delete

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    In regard to medications that have long term use codes (such as NSAIDS or anti-inflammatories) is there any guidance on when to begin using the code and when to stop using the code. What constitutes "long term" and or "current" use ?
    There is no official guidance that I'm aware of beyond the instructions given in ICD-10 (cited below), which just state that these codes are for reporting drug therapy that is ongoing for chronic problems or preventive measures and not for use for an acute illness. The ICD-10 coding handbook goes into a little more detail with some examples, but essentially says the same thing as this.

    "Codes from this category indicate a patientís continuous use of a prescribed drug (including such things as aspirin therapy) for the long-term treatment of a condition or for prophylactic use. It is not for use for patients who have addictions to drugs. This subcategory is not for use of medications for detoxification or maintenance programs to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients with drug dependence (e.g., methadone maintenance for opiate dependence). Assign the appropriate code for the drug dependence instead.

    Assign a code from Z79 if the patient is receiving a medication for an extended period as a prophylactic measure (such as for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis) or as treatment of a chronic condition (such as arthritis) or a disease requiring a lengthy course of treatment (such as cancer). Do not assign a code from category Z79 for medication being administered for a brief period of time to treat an acute illness or injury (such as a course of antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis)."
    Thomas Field, CPC, CEMC

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