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Abstract on Declines in Opioid Prescriptions for U.S. Patients with Cancer and Non-Cancer Pain, Study Shows Original source 

Declines in Opioid Prescriptions for U.S. Patients with Cancer and Non-Cancer Pain, Study Shows

In recent years, the United States has been grappling with an opioid epidemic that has claimed countless lives. As a result, healthcare providers have been working to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions they write. A new study has found that this effort has led to a decline in opioid prescriptions for patients with cancer and non-cancer pain. This article will explore the findings of the study and what they mean for patients and healthcare providers.

The Study

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed data from over 200 million opioid prescriptions written between 2012 and 2019. The researchers found that opioid prescriptions for patients with cancer pain declined by 10.3% during this time period. For patients with non-cancer pain, opioid prescriptions declined by 31.3%.

The study also found that the decline in opioid prescriptions was more pronounced in states that had implemented policies to reduce opioid prescribing. These policies included prescription drug monitoring programs, limits on the number of pills that could be prescribed, and requirements for prescribers to check a patient's prescription history before writing a new prescription.

Implications for Patients

The decline in opioid prescriptions has both positive and negative implications for patients. On the one hand, fewer opioid prescriptions mean that patients are less likely to become addicted to these drugs. Opioid addiction can be devastating, leading to a range of negative outcomes, including overdose and death.

On the other hand, some patients with chronic pain may find it difficult to manage their symptoms without opioids. For these patients, alternative pain management strategies may be necessary. These strategies could include physical therapy, acupuncture, or non-opioid medications.

Implications for Healthcare Providers

The decline in opioid prescriptions also has implications for healthcare providers. Providers may need to spend more time working with patients to find alternative pain management strategies. They may also need to be more vigilant in monitoring patients for signs of opioid addiction, as patients who are unable to obtain opioids through legitimate means may turn to illicit sources.

Providers may also need to be aware of the potential for undertreatment of pain. While opioids are not appropriate for all patients, they can be an effective tool for managing pain in some cases. Providers will need to balance the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for each individual patient.

Conclusion

The decline in opioid prescriptions for patients with cancer and non-cancer pain is a positive development in the fight against the opioid epidemic. However, it is important to ensure that patients with chronic pain are still able to manage their symptoms effectively. Healthcare providers will need to work with these patients to find alternative pain management strategies, while also being vigilant for signs of opioid addiction. By working together, patients and providers can help to ensure that pain is managed safely and effectively.

FAQs

1. What is the opioid epidemic?

The opioid epidemic refers to the widespread use and abuse of opioid drugs in the United States. This epidemic has led to a range of negative outcomes, including addiction, overdose, and death.

2. Why are healthcare providers reducing opioid prescriptions?

Healthcare providers are reducing opioid prescriptions in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction can be devastating, leading to a range of negative outcomes, including overdose and death.

3. What are some alternative pain management strategies?

Alternative pain management strategies could include physical therapy, acupuncture, or non-opioid medications.

4. What are prescription drug monitoring programs?

Prescription drug monitoring programs are databases that track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances. These programs can help to identify patients who may be at risk for opioid addiction.

5. Are opioids appropriate for all patients with chronic pain?

No, opioids are not appropriate for all patients with chronic pain. Providers will need to balance the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for each individual patient.

 


This abstract is presented as an informational news item only and has not been reviewed by a medical professional. This abstract should not be considered medical advice. This abstract might have been generated by an artificial intelligence program. See TOS for details.

Most frequent words in this abstract:
opioid (4), prescriptions (3)