HealthDay News – Access to primary care is limited for patients taking opioids for chronic pain, especially those with a history suggestive of abnormal opioid use, according to a study recently published in Pain.
Pooja Lagisetty, MD of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and colleagues conducted a secret survey of customer screening in primary care clinics in nine states (May-July 2019). Simulated patients taking opioids for chronic pain cited clinics that claimed they needed a new provider, either because their previous doctor had retired or because they had stopped prescribing opioids for unspecified reasons. The clinic’s willingness to see the patient and prescribe opioids was assessed.
The researchers report that 452 clinics responded to both scenarios (904 calls). More than four out of ten clinics (43 percent) stated that their providers would not prescribe opioids in either scenario, while just under a third of the clinics (32 percent) stated that their providers could prescribe in both scenarios. A quarter of the clinics (25 percent) responded differently to each scenario, with a greater willingness to prescribe when the previous doctor retired than when the doctor stopped prescribing (odds ratio 1.83).
“Even if you think someone is using opioids for a reason other than pain, or that long-term opioids are not an effective pain management strategy, these very patients, who we are in elementary school, should be seen,” Lagisetty said in a statement. “Restricting access to basic care limits their ability to provide pain-oriented and potentially addictive care.”
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Chronic pain opioid pain pain management