Letter | Tired of physicians who don’t understand the opioid guidelines, laws

I’m tired of physicians who either don’t read or can’t understand the 2016 CDC Pain Guidelines or new Arizona opioid law. Physicians are making medical decisions on social media rather than understanding the guidelines or law.

First the CDC guidelines are just that, not law, but guidelines. A pain doctor in Bullhead City told all his patients that they could only receive two weeks of medications, and had to travel to the office every two weeks to pick up prescriptions. He found out that wasn’t true, and the next month it was back to normal.

A pain doctor in Mohave Valley told patients he was cutting their medications because “it’s gone social,” really … what?

DEA tells me patient doses should ONLY be changed for medical necessity and NOT for policy… The CDC Guidelines are for primary care givers, NOT pain specialists..

“This guideline provides recommendations for the prescribing of opioid pain medication by primary care providers for chronic pain in outpatient settings outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. Although the guideline does not focus broadly on pain management, appropriate use of long-term opioid therapy must be considered within the context of all pain management strategies… The guideline offers recommendations rather than prescriptive standards; providers should consider the circumstances and unique needs of each patient.”

The CDC guidelines say… “Established patients already taking high dosages of opioids, as well as patients transferring from other providers, might consider the possibility of opioid dosage reduction to be anxiety-provoking, and tapering opioids can be especially challenging after years on high dosages because of physical and psychological dependence… For patients who agree to taper opioids to lower dosages, providers should collaborate with the patient on a tapering plan”

This email from the Arizona governor points out the protections for pain patients. The problem is even when you hand the law to a physician, they are incapable to read and understand the law.

Pain management physician’s who operate on fear, rumors, and social media rather than following the guidelines and laws must be held responsible for the harm they do to patients.

Jay Fleming

Dolan Springs