We pain patients and our doctors face some real problems when it comes to narcotics, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. As patients, we don't want to be treated like criminals for simply managing our pain, yet we understand that there are some criminals out there trying to scam doctors out of those meds. Doctors, meanwhile, want to help legitimate patients feel better, but they don't want to give drugs to addicts.
So how do we show that we aren't addicts, and how can doctors be sure they're giving drugs to the right people?
A new study from the University of Michigan and Ohio State University offers a solution. And implementing it takes work from both doctors and patients.
The study consisted of putting measures in place in one busy, multi-doctor clinic. First, it created an opioid registry of all patients who got opioids from the clinic. Second, it required doctors and patients to sign agreements detailing conditions for receiving narcotics. One condition was random urine tests for illegal drugs. Another was allowing the clinic to check state prescription records to see if patients were getting drugs from more than one doctor at a time.
The study showed that 35% of the 167 patients on the opioid registry violated the policy in some way. Those taking a medication containing oxycodone were twice as likely to be violators.
While 35% seems pretty high, the researchers expected the rate to be higher than it would in private practice, because this was a clinic where patients were likely to see a different doctor each visit, which makes it easier for addicts to slip through the cracks.
Are you willing to periodically take a urine test and have the doctor check your prescription records in order to consistently get your refills? Do you think a system like this should be in place everywhere? Post your comments here or in About.com's Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forum.
- Read more about the study, and see if you'd like to recommend it to your doctor.
- Learn more about your prescription drugs, interactions & side effects with About.com's Drugs A-Z.
- Get info on multiple treatment options for fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue syndrome.