When the Wrong Patient Wants Opioids

MARCH 31, 2017
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick

When a patient comes strolling into your office at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday wanting an opioid prescription, that could be a red flag, Suresh Reddy, MD, professor of palliative care at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center told MD Magazine.
Reddy gave a presentation at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting (ACP 2017) in San Diego, California entitled, “Pain Management in 2017.” Physicians are well aware of the opioid epidemic and most have probably dealt with difficult patients, meaning that they have no interest in trying alternative forms of pain relief and just want a prescription.
“You have to be careful,” Reddy started off the conversation, “it can be daunting in a solo practice, so I advocate you have a team.”
Reddy acknowledges that patients with opioid misuse have a disease, but physicians need to take the reins and set rules. This could mean frequent visits or urine drug screens, but physicians need to take the time to manage their patients’ pain and opioid use.
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