Tags: opioid | epidemic | chronic | pain | palliative | care

Don't Cut Off Access to Opioids, Experts Urge

Don't Cut Off Access to Opioids, Experts Urge
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Thursday, 14 July 2016 01:58 PM

The government’s move to restrict opioids to curb dangers could be harming those who need them the most – pain patients, experts say.

In response to a mounting number of deaths due to opioid overdoses, new limits are being clamped on prescriptions, but such regulations may prevent patients from getting the relief they need, the new article says.

"There is a disturbing tendency among doctors, politicians and the media in the U.S. to be preoccupied by certain aspects of opioids: their benefits are questioned and their risks sensationalized," says William Scholten, a medicine and controlled substances consultant.  Such policies can lead people to lose sight of the bigger picture of pain management, he adds.

Writing in the latest issue of the Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, Scholten and his coauthor, Jack E. Henningfield, contend that politicians and the media have at times misrepresented the opioid epidemic.

The authors provide a number of recommendations for responsible prescription of opioids, such as regular assessment of the patient's pain and functioning and informing the patient and his/her caregivers about the correct use of prescribed medicines, as well as how to safely dispose of unused medicines.

They say that while opioid overdoses are on the rise in this country, this is not the case in places such as Europe. While they encourage the creation of policies minimizing the harm of opioids, they suggest doing so in the right context and in a rational way.

"Blocking access to prescription opioids should not have a negative impact on pain treatment or worsen overall harmful substance use," adds Scholten.

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The government's crackdown on opioid drug prescribing could keep chronic pain patients from getting the help they need, experts say.
opioid, epidemic, chronic, pain, palliative, care
Thursday, 14 July 2016 01:58 PM
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