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.

Related Stories

Doctors lax in monitoring potentially addicting drugs

date 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

Footpaths and parks support active school commute

date 1 hour ago

While it probably won't make the idea of attending school more appealing social scientists say different infrastructure and behaviour change programs are key to encouraging young people to take a more active ...

Food barometer measures a population’'s eating habits

date 2 hours ago

A survey by Taylor's-Toulouse University Centre (TTUC) is collecting data on the food habits of individuals and how their choices are related to modernisation and other social factors. Results show that almost ...

Who you gonna call? Beijing smokebusters to go on patrol

date 7 hours ago

China's capital seeks to snuff out smoking in indoor public places on Monday with a new ban, unprecedented fines and a hotline to report offenders, but enforcement is doubtful in one of the world's most tobacco-addicted countries.

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.