Another study indicates that patients are removed from prescription painkillers with "fast" rates that go beyond federal guidelines.
Among more than 100,000 patients enrolled in both commercial insurance and Medicare Advantage programs, researchers find that the annual rate goes down doubling between 2008 and 2017.
Responding to the opioid crisis , The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a cutback plan in 2016 that has sent a chilling effect across the chronic pain community, experts say. It has recently been tempered, but not before doctors and hospital networks begin to remove patients with pain from their medications or to send them in full.
HHS suggested reducing patients to gradual doses of about 10 percent per week or possibly less, but some clinicians and hospitals may have interpreted the guidelines as a "hard stop," according to a study published on November 15 The Journal of the American Medical Association . In 2017, more than one-fifth of patients experienced a decrease in average daily doses of 15 percent or more, according to the findings. This is only 10.5 percent of patients in 2008. Video: What is fentanyl, an opioid drug 50 times more potent than heroin?
Nearly one in every five people decreases by more than 40 percent every month, the researchers found. For people who are physically addicted to drugs, this type of approach can cause crippling withdrawal symptoms, psychological distress and suicide, not to mention uncontrolled pain, according to a recent warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Groups at particular risk of discarding their medicines in this way include younger people, women, minorities, people with higher doses of opiates, people who have recently overdosed, and people with commercial insurance,  "This study confirms that many Patients with chronic pain receive non-standard care," said Dan Laird, a pain doctor and abuse advocate. with chronic pain continue to be
In another recent study conducted by Quest Diagnostics and the Addiction Center, more than four in five doctors said they were reluctant to accept patients using prescribed opioids. They also stated that opioid crisis complicates treatment of patients with pain
"The effects of opioid reduction on pain, withdrawal, mental health and the risk of overdose warrant careful evaluation," the authors of the JAMA study conclude.
Because this project was limited by its reliance on commercial insurance and Medicare Advantage programs, the results may not be generalizable to uninsured people or those enrolled in Medicaid. Data are also obtained from administrative claims that risk a measurement error.
Sign up for our newsletter and get Newsweek stories delivered to your email