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Why is the healthcare system biased and disrespectful to chronic pain patients who are prescribed opioids? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
According to the CDC, approximately 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. That’s almost a third of the U.S. population. Opioid addiction affects roughly 12 million Americans a year, or around 10% of the population of chronic pain patients. Granted, not every chronic pain patient is at risk of developing an addiction. Like any disease, some people may be more at risk of developing an addiction due to past histories of substance abuse and their social environments, among other factors.
Unfortunately, the opioid crisis is beginning to affect compliant chronic pain patients that, as you mentioned, are taking their medications as prescribed. Further, because high opioid dosages have been correlated with an increase in the risk of opioid use dependency (OUD), chronic pain patients are being targeted because they are typically on higher doses. Physicians who treat chronic pain patients also feel at risk due to new regulations and increased scrutiny over their prescribing and treatment processes. Some feel safer cutting opioid prescriptions altogether to ensure they don’t have to deal with high-risk patients who pose a liability to their practices.
There’s also been some confusion between acute and chronic pain patients. The CDC came out with a new recommendation that limits opioid prescriptions to 7 days for certain acute pain patients. This doesn’t include chronic pain patients or postoperative patients undergoing complex surgeries. The recommendation was intended to reduce the number of days that the average acute pain patient is prescribed an opiate and to limit the number of leftover pills in the community that could be diverted.
The opioid crisis’s public attention has played a beneficial role in the emergence of solutions and alternatives to opioid treatment for pain. However, it may have inadvertently marginalized chronic pain patients who need access to continuous pain management. At Pilleve, our mission is to make it safer for physicians to prescribe opioids for pain while ensuring that those who need to access it can do so, free of stigmatization.
This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter and Facebook. More questions:
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Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
TAGS: Quora, Prejudice, opioids, chronic pain, Forbes