Black patients more likely to be monitored for prescription drug abuse

(Medical Xpress) -- Despite studies that show that whites are more likely than blacks to misuse prescription pain medications, a new study reveals that blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be checked for potential drug abuse. The study appears in Annals of Family Medicine.

The research team studied three risk-reduction strategies in black and white patients who were prescribed opioid painkillers: urine testing, regular office visits and restricted early drug refills.

Of the more than 1.600 patients studied, black patients were significantly more likely than white patients to be scheduled for regular office visits and have restricted early prescription refills. Though black patients were also more likely to receive urine tests, the percentage was not considered significant after adjustment for other demographic and clinical factors.

According to lead author William Becker, M.D., instructor in at Yale School of Medicine, "These data raise troubling questions about lax monitoring, especially for white patients taking opioids for a long period of time. In addition to drug misuse, there should be frequent monitoring for efficacy, side effects and major adverse events like accidental overdose."

Previous studies have shown in prescribing opioids for pain. Physicians are less likely to prescribe them for black patients than white patients, even though white patients are more likely than blacks to misuse these . "These disparities may reflect a lack of in managing pain among minorities," Becker said, "leading them to rely on stereotypes in making their decisions."

"Standardized monitoring procedures that are a routine part of comprehensive pain care show the most promise for eliminating these disparities," Becker said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Doctors lax in monitoring potentially addicting drugs

Mar 03, 2011

Few primary care physicians pay adequate attention to patients taking prescription opioid drugs -- despite the potential for abuse, addiction and overdose, according to a new study by researchers at Albert Einstein College ...

Recommended for you

Psychology of food choice: Challenging the status quo

4 hours ago

Researchers are challenging conventional beliefs about the effectiveness of traditional strategies for encouraging healthy eating. The symposium, "Challenging Misconceptions About the Psychology of Food Choice," includes ...

Crohn's disease not exempt from racial disparities

Feb 27, 2015

A study published recently in the IBD Journal found significant differences in hospital readmissions, medication usage, and both medical and surgical complications of children with Crohn's disease related to race. In the ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.