Survey: Opioids Stopped or Reduced for Most Patients — Pain News Network | August 04, 2016 | By Pat Anson, Editor
Over two-thirds of pain patients say their opioid medication has been decreased or stopped since the CDC adopted its opioid prescribing guidelines, according to a new survey that also found over half of the patients have considered suicide since the guidelines were implemented.
A total of 1,978 patients participated in the survey, which was conducted through social media and online support groups in recent weeks.
Although unscientific, the survey results are the first indication of the significant impact the CDC guidelines are having on both physicians and patients.
“Many now acknowledge that their doctor’s appointment conversation is all about keeping the physician safe from DEA oversight or license restrictions as opposed to optimizing the consumer’s activity and functioning levels.”
“My doctor said he is afraid of the DEA and CDC,” said one patient.
“My doctor said I cannot be cured so there is no point in treating me for pain,” said another.
The logic of it escapes me, but this is an increasingly common and dangerous line of thinking It implies that pain management is only for people whose pain has a cause that can be treated and fixed.
For many chronic pain patients, pain has become centralized after years of being ignored by doctors because it’s “just pain”. This makes a “cure” impossible and condemns a person (and their family and friends) to lifelong suffering.
- Over 68% of patients said their opioid pain medication has been decreased or discontinued since the guidelines were implemented in March.
- Nearly 45% were warned by their doctor that additional decreases will be necessary.
- And just over 50% said they had considered suicide as a way to end their pain.
Other survey findings:
- 75% of patients said they are not receiving adequate pain control
- 57% said they had been discharged or abandoned by a doctor because they need opioid treatment
- 44% said they had problems getting a prescription filled at a pharmacy
- 90% said their pain levels, activities and social interactions have worsened
- 97% said they have never been addicted or required treatment for drug abuse
Nearly four out of ten patients (39%) said they had been told by a doctor that they must have an operation or invasive procedure, or they will be discharged from the practice or have their medications reduced.
Such blatant coercion of a patient to undergo such immensely profitable procedures would certainly not be tolerated by any other profession.
“Increasingly, respondents are being threatened with pain care protocols that are not optimal, such as epidural injections (or) installation of durable medical equipment. If they refuse, their access to oral medications, even where they have been used impactfully, is systematically reduced or suspended,” said Lewis.
As Pain News Network has reported, a top CDC official recently wrote a letter to one patient saying the guidelines were only meant as a “guide” for primary care providers “as they work in consultation with their patients.”