Civil Rights Case Gives Hope to Pain Patients– By Richard Dobson, MD, Guest Columnist – Pain News Network – Feb 2019
Here’s a hopeful development: an example of a successful suit on the basis of discrimination under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
People with chronic disabling pain frequently complain that doctors discharge them from their practice because of the medications they take. Sometimes doctors refuse to accept patients who are taking opioid pain medications, even though the medications treat a legitimate medical condition.
There may be hope that such actions will be considered violations of the civil rights of patients. Continue reading
The Contribution of Prescribed and Illicit Opioids to Fatal Overdoses in Massachusetts, 2013-2015 – Oct 2019
Massachusetts is only an example of what we’d find in other states if they were more concerned with finding out what’s killing people who overdose. Instead, it’s often not tested adequately to find the real culprit because it’s already assumed that any sign of any opioid makes it a “prescription opioid overdose” to be added to those inflated numbers.
Opioid-related overdoses are commonly attributed to prescription opioids.
Whether true or not, our “public service” coroners just follow the path of least resistance and fall into the false confidence of their predetermined ideas. Continue reading
Health Officials Urge Caution in Reducing Opioids for Pain Patients – The New York Times – By Abby Goodnough – Oct 2019
In a newly published guide, federal health officials say doctors “should never abandon” pain patients and warn of acute withdrawal and other risks.
The Trump administration on Thursday instructed doctors to use more caution when taking chronic pain patients off opioid medications, a response to reports that many have been cutting off prescriptions too quickly, in some cases even dismissing patients from their practice.
Question: Why did we have to wait 3 1/2 years for this?
Answer: because no one wanted to know the results. Continue reading
Novel, ‘Non-Habit Forming’ Medication May Reduce Low Back Pain – Nancy A. Melville – Apr 2019
A novel, “non-habit-forming” neurosteroidappears to be effective and well tolerated in the treatment of chronic low back pain, new research suggests.
In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial of almost 100 Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans, those treated with a pharmaceutical-grade tablet formulation of pregnenolone showed “significant and meaningful reductions” in low back pain intensity ratings at 6 weeks compared with their peers who received matching placebo, investigators report.
I’m excited about this because pregnenolone is an over-the-counter supplement available to us all.
UMN researchers study effect of chronic opioid therapy on pain and survival in sickle cell disease | EurekAlert! Science News – Apr 2019
Though this article is specifically about Sickle Cell Disease, it can be applied to many other kinds of chronic pain.
New UMN research recently published Blood Advances, Kalpna Gupta, PhD, Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, demonstrates the impact of opioids on the survival of humanized mouse models with sickle cell disease, compared to normal mice.
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) affects millions of people throughout the world. The genetic disease worsens over time and can cause lifelong pain.
Given the often severe nature of the pain associated with SCD opioid use is a rule not an exception for treatment. Continue reading
The Link Between Misconceptions About Opioid Use Disorders and Current Policies – Clinical Pain Advisor – Aug 2019
Though the subject here is opioid addiction, I’m amazed and delighted to find this publication for medical professionals repudiating the assumed link between opioid prescribing and addiction.
The current opioid crisis is the third one observed in the United States. This latest trend is, however, the result of unusual factors and has had some unique effects.
Knee-jerk reactions to restrictions on opioid prescriptions have resulted in an increase in the narco-trafficking of heroin and fentanyl, and as the consumption of opioids shifted from oral intake to injections, hepatitis B and C and HIV infections have increased. Continue reading
First Generic Versions of Lyrica Approved by FDA – Pain Medicine News – based on a press release from the FDA – July 2019
The FDA approved the first generic versions of the pain medication pregabalin, the agency announced. It accepted multiple applications, granting approvals to nine manufacturers, including Teva Pharmaceuticals.
I have to wonder why *nine* manufacturers are lined up to sell this medication. Competition “should” lower the price, but that’s not how things work in pharmaceutical pricing. Continue reading
State Regulators Punish Doctor for Cutting a Pain Patient’s Opioid Dose and Dropping Him After He Became Suicidal – Reason.com – Jacob Sullum | July 2019
Here’s another encouraging article that I hope is only the beginning of a return to sanity about opioids in this country:
A New Hampshire doctor recently got into trouble with state regulators because of the way he treated a pain patient.
But in a refreshing twist that suggests state officials are beginning to recognize the harm caused by restricting access to pain medication, the New Hampshire Board of Medicine reprimanded and fined the doctor not for prescribing opioids but for refusing to do so.
The settlement stems from a June 2018 complaint in which a patient reported that Greenspan, “after treating him for years and prescribing the same dosages of pain medication, suddenly reduced his medications, which led to increased pain and anxiety, and suicidal ideations.”
Rep. Amore bill that excludes chronic intractable pain from medication prescribing guidelines passed by House – Press release – June 2019
Finally, a state government (which does have the authority to regulate medical practice, unlike the federal government) is proposing a bill to allow chronic intractable pain patients to continue taking opioids if they are the only effective treatment.
This legislation is remarkably reasonable, realistic, and would be a huge relief to pain patients.
Rep. Gregg Amore’s (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) legislation (2019-H 5434A) that would exclude chronic intractable pain from the definition of “acute pain management” for the purposes of prescribing opioid medication was passed by the House of Representatives. Continue reading
Pain coping skills training doesn’t improve knee arthroplasty outcomes– by Bruce Jancin – June 2019
Here’s the research I’ve been waiting for to disprove the hype around the idea that “catastrophizing leads to more pain and worse outcomes”. In this study, they expected to get results confirming this “catastrophizing hypothesis“, but they found no such thing.
They did find that when patients’ pain was relieved after successful knee replacement (80% success rate), their catastrophizing score was also dramatically reduced, regardless of which trial arm they were in.
This is contradictory to many less rigorous studies that showed catastrophizing leading to worse outcomes. But this prospective randomized study shows what pain patients have always known:
When pain is relieved, so is catastrophizing. Continue reading