Perspectives on the opioid crisis from pain medicine clinicians.
Dis Mon. 2018 Oct;64(10):451-466
Authors: Jay GW, Barkin RL
Patients experiencing a terminal drug related event reflect a sentinel event. If this pharmacotherapy is a widely used agent, it may be viewed as a catastrophic problem. If patients are dying from illegal drug use when the medical establishment fails them by withdrawing or minimizing their medically prescribed medication, then the burden rests with their health care providers, legislation, and insurance carriers to actively participate in a collegial fashion to achieve parity. Causing a decay in functionality in previously functional patients, may occur with appropriately prescribed opioid medications addressing non-cancer pain when withdrawing or diminishing either with or without patient consent. The members of the medical profession have diminished their prescribing of opioids for their patients out of apparent fear of reprisal, state or federal government sanctions, and other concerned groups. Diminishing former dosages or deleting the opioid medication, preferably in concert with the patient, often results in inequitable patient care. Enforcing sanctioned decreases or ceasing to prescribe from their former required/established opioid medications precipitate patient discord. In absence of opioid misuse, abuse, diversion or addiction based upon medical "guidelines" and with a poor foundation of Evidence Based Medicine the CDC guidelines, it may be masked as a true guideline reflecting a decrement of clinical judgment, wisdom, and compassion. This article also discusses the role of pharmacy chains, insurance carriers, and their pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) contribution to this multidimensional problem. There may be a potential solution, identified in this paper, if all the associated political, medical and insurance groups work cohesively to improve patient care. This article and the CDC guidelines are not focused at hospice, palliative, end of life care pain management.
PMID: 30236900 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]