New rules may constrain docs' ability to treat chronic pain

June 29, 2018

(HealthDay)—New laws and regulations designed to limit the use of prescription narcotics may further constrain doctors' ability to treat patients, according to an article published online May 30 in Medical Economics.

Physicians and public health and pain management experts are concerned that laws and regulations may represent another constraint on doctors' ability to treat patients in the way they think best. Although the huge death toll from opioids needs to be reduced, physicians are concerned about how to provide adequate chronic for patients.

The most recent action aimed at reducing opioid use was a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule denying coverage for Medicare Part D beneficiaries whose total daily opioid dose exceeds 90 morphine milligram equivalents. In addition, for patients receiving opioids for the first time, coverage is limited to seven days, with no exceptions. Physicians have complained that the policy is not consistent with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline on opioid prescribing. In addition, physicians cannot exercise their clinical judgment about the appropriate course of therapy for specific . Obstacles to prescribing opioids have also come from payers, with insurance companies limiting opioid coverage. Some specialists believe the solution to the crisis lies in devoting more resources to helping addicts rather than via outside interference.

Primary care physicians can still prescribe medications; records should be properly documented, including the patient's medical history and physical exam, the rationale for prescribing opioids, and discussion of the risks and benefits.

Explore further: Coverage policies compared for back pain medications

More information: More Information

Related Stories

Coverage policies compared for back pain medications

June 25, 2018
(HealthDay)—There are opportunities for recalibrating the role of opioids in pain care, including expanding access to opioid alternatives through coverage and reimbursement policies, according to a study published online ...

Reducing opioids not associated with lower patient satisfaction scores

June 8, 2018
A Kaiser Permanente study of nearly 2,500 patients who used high doses of opioids for at least six months showed that reducing their opioid use did not lower their satisfaction with care. The study, "Satisfaction With Care ...

Physical therapy could lower need for opioids, but lack of money and time are hurdles

June 22, 2018
Physical therapists help people walk again after a stroke and recover after injury or surgery, but did you know they also prevent exposure to opioids? This is timely, given we are in a public health emergency related to an ...

Risky opioid prescriptions linked to higher chance of death

June 18, 2018
When patients are prescribed opioids in risky ways, their chance of dying increases and their odds of death go higher as the number of risky opioid prescriptions increase, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Patients who get opioids in the ER are less likely to use them long-term

September 26, 2017
Compared to other medical settings, emergency patients who are prescribed opioids for the first time in the emergency department are less likely to become long-term users and more likely to be prescribed these powerful painkillers ...

Marijuana legalization may reduce opioid use

April 4, 2018
(HealthDay)—State implementation of medical marijuana laws is associated with a reduction in the rate of opioid prescribing, according to a study published online April 2 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Recommended for you

Novel botulinum toxin compound relieves chronic pain

July 18, 2018
A modified form of botulinum toxin gives long-lasting pain relief in mice without adverse effects and, in time, could replace opioid drugs as a safe and effective way of treating chronic pain, according to research by UCL, ...

FDA recalls heart medication valsartan, citing cancer concerns

July 17, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a voluntary recall of several medications that contain the active ingredient valsartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Opioids given too easily to children: study

July 16, 2018
(HealthDay)—Many children are prescribed powerful opioid painkillers they don't really need, putting them and those around them at risk, a new study shows.

Study reveals opioid patients face multiple barriers to treatment

July 12, 2018
In areas of the country disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis, treatment programs are less likely to accept patients paying through insurance of any type or accept pregnant women, a new Vanderbilt study found.

Report details possible conflict of interest issues for FDA advisors

July 6, 2018
Charles Piller, a contributing correspondent for the journal Science, has published a Feature piece in the journal detailing what he describes as possible conflicts of interest issues by people who serve as advisors to the ...

Opioid epidemic responses overlook gender

July 5, 2018
Yale health experts warn that current efforts to confront the growth of opioid addiction and overdose deaths must better incorporate an understanding of how women fit into this epidemic.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Bogie99
not rated yet Jul 01, 2018
It's already happening. It's harder for legit patients to get relief due to the few that abuse it. Suffering people have it harder in every way and it just disgusts me. Sites like this aren't without blame as the sensationalism is pushed through it. It's a rare day I can log on without coming across opioid articles.

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.