Tag Archives: good-news

Effect of chronic opioid therapy on pain and survival

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

No evidence Rx opioids caused “Opioid Crisis”

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

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

Doctor Punished for Cutting Opioid Dose

State Regulators Punish Doctor for Cutting a Pain Patient’s Opioid Dose and Dropping Him After He Became Suicidal – Reason.comJacob 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.”

R.I. bill excludes chronic pain from Rx guidelines

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

Catastrophizing NOT predictive of poor outcomes

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

Fined for withholding pain medication

St. Anthony’s fined $25K for withholding pain medication from two patients – by Sarah Hayden, Reporter – Jul 3, 2019

I’m thrilled to finally see some successful pushback from patients who are deliberately left in pain due to opioid restrictions.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) first-quarter report, the nursing facility at 767 30th St., Rock Island, was cited for four license violations related to the abuse and neglect of the patients in December. 

The report, published in April, states the facility failed to monitor pain, establish control of severe pain and administer pain medication for two residents,” one suffering from arthritis and the other from chronic leg pain and open wounds.    Continue reading

Doctor reprimanded for treatment of pain patient

Portsmouth doctor reprimanded for treatment of chronic pain patient – by Shawne K. Wickham New Hampshire Sunday News – Jul 6, 2019 

This is incredibly good news: finally, a doctor is punished for forcing a significant dose reduction of opioid pain relief, which left his patient in agony and close to suicide.

A Portsmouth doctor has been reprimanded and fined by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine after he cut back a chronic pain patient’s prescription opioid painkillers — and then dropped him as a patient altogether after the man threatened suicide.

Joshua Greenspan, who is board certified in pain management and anesthesiology, signed a settlement agreement in May to resolve allegations of professional misconduct.   Continue reading

Court challenge to Controlled Substances Act

Federal appeals court refuses to dismiss the federal cannabis lawsuit. – Mike Hiller, Esq. – May 30, 2019

I just came across this and I’m not sure if this applies to our situation with opioids, but I’m delighted to see this challenge to the misbegotten Controlled Substances Act, which was passed and signed into law in 1970, almost half a century ago.

In a groundbreaking decision, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the first Court to refuse to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act.

Hurray, a judge finally comes to a rational decision! 

Continue reading

Physicians Call on Politicians to End Interference

Frontline Physicians Call on Politicians to End Political Interference in the Delivery of Evidence Based Medicine – May 2019

This is a move in the right direction, but my feeling is that it’s too little and too late. If the practices they oppose are so important to them, why did these groups wait over three full years to speak up?

It looks like they were cowering in the shadows until other, much more courageous, doctors were already speaking up.

Our organizations are firmly opposed to efforts in state legislatures across the United States that

  • inappropriately interfere with the patient-physician relationship,
  • unnecessarily regulate the evidence-based practice of medicine and, in some cases,
  • even criminalize physicians who deliver safe, legal, and necessary medical care.

Continue reading