Pain Management
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
More Patients Turning to Medical Marijuana for Arthritis PainCould an Injected Electrode Control Your Pain Without Drugs?If Prescribed Opioids for Pain, Ask Lots of Questions: FDAMore Opioids Doesn't Mean Less Chronic Pain: StudyLegal Pot Products Too Potent for Chronic PainOpioids Won't Help Arthritis Patients Long-Term: StudyFewer Opioids After Eye Surgery Don't Mean More Post-Op PainTougher Rules on Opioids After Surgery Doesn't Mean More Pain for PatientsHealth Tip: Taking Anti-Inflammatory Drugs1 in 5 Heart Pacemaker Patients Prescribed Opioids After SurgeryUsing Opioids After Vasectomy May Trigger Persistent Use: StudyWhat Are the Risks of Pain Relief Alternatives to Opioids?'Alarming' Number of Lupus Patients Use Opioids for Pain: StudyOpioid Prescriptions for Eye Surgery Patients SurgeDocs Prescribe More Opioids at Certain Time of DayU.S. Opioid Prescription Rate Is 7 Times That of SwedenMany Americans Eying CBD, Pot as Pain Relievers Without Knowing RisksCBD Is the Rage, But More Science Needed on Safety, EffectivenessMixing Marijuana With Opioids May Not Be Good for Mental HealthMany Doctors Refusing Care of People Prescribed OpioidsFewer Opioid Painkillers Can Still Control Surgery PainFDA Grants First Approvals for Generic Versions of LyricaMore Than 5 Million U.S. Cancer Survivors Deal With Chronic PainThe Safer Way to Ease Post-Surgical PainOpioids Prescribed in Hospital Often Tied to Long-Term UseDentists Prescribe Antibiotics Far Too Often: StudyMany Patients Don't Need Opioids After Surgery
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Medical Disorders
Mental Disorders
Medications

Many Doctors Refusing Care of People Prescribed Opioids

HealthDay News
by By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 15th 2019

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Aug. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Folks taking opioids for chronic pain may run into trouble if they need to find a new doctor.

A new "secret shopper" survey of 194 Michigan primary care clinics found that as many as four out of 10 primary care doctors would turn away patients who have been taking the pain-killing medications (such as Percocet) long term. And that's true even if those physician practices said they are open to taking new patients.

"This is a prevalent problem -- more so than we expected," said study author Dr. Pooja Lagisetty, from the University of Michigan Medical School and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

For the study, researchers called physician practices, posing as a potential new patient. The "patients" explained that they were taking opioids for chronic pain and said they had either Medicaid or private health insurance.

Lagisetty said she hopes the study gets health care systems thinking about this problem.

"I hope it gets physicians thinking, 'What can we do better?' By closing doors on patients, we're not helping anybody," she said. "We need to dig into this problem to find out what's driving it."

Lagisetty said there are probably multiple reasons that doctors turn certain patients away.

"Stigma is probably a component, and another big component is probably the administrative burden that comes with prescribing opioids. It's not a trivial amount of work to manage someone on opioids safely. I suspect some clinics may be a little overburdened," she said.

Dr. Noel Deep, a spokesman for the American College of Physicians, suspects the problem is less about stigma and more about the regulatory burden related to prescribing opioids.

"Physicians have to think twice when prescribing opioids, and if you're in a small, rural practice, it gets difficult. Physicians can also be targeted for overprescribing," he said.

Dr. Yili Huang, director of the pain management center at Northwell Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., agreed that opioid regulations might make physicians hesitant to take on a patient who's using them, even if that patient doesn't have an issue with addiction.

While people taking opioids are at a very high risk of misuse or abuse, Huang said about three-quarters of people who take them don't misuse them and about 90% don't develop an addiction. He did note, however, that many people can have their pain successfully managed without opioids.

But for those who do need them, the increased scrutiny and potential risk to a doctor's license and livelihood may keep them from taking on these patients.

So, what can happen if people treating chronic pain with opioids can't find a doctor?

Lagisetty said patients could be left with uncontrolled pain, and may have withdrawal symptoms. If they attempt to see several doctors for opioids, they may be labeled as a "drug-seeker" and have difficulty accessing their pain medications.

For those who are abusing the opioids, in some states they won't have access to the medication that can reverse an overdose. They also won't get a referral for addiction treatment.

Deep said, "Patients have to come first. If patients can't get medications, there can be very bad outcomes." He noted that patients might end up driving long distances to seek pain relief. Some might even use illicit drugs.

All three experts said there's a need for increased addiction education, as well as some flexibility in prescribing guidelines.

The news from the study wasn't all bad, Lagisetty pointed out. While around 40% of doctors turned chronic opioid users away, 60% were willing to see them.

Huang added, "Despite increasing regulatory scrutiny, many providers continue to care for patients on chronic opioids."

The study found no difference in whether doctors would see patients based on the type of insurance they had.

"This suggests that there may not be any financial or discriminatory incentive behind these actions, and instead [turning these patients away] is driven solely by fear of policy repercussions and lack of education," Huang explained.

The study was recently published online in JAMA Network Open.

More information

Learn more about pain treatment options from the U.S. National Institute on Aging.




Facebook

Amazon Smile

 

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net