Undertreating a Patient's Pain Due to Addiction Concerns

June 12, 2013

How does the potential for drug diversion and addiction influence the way you care for patients with chronic pain?

In a recent Practice Notes blog, Physicians Practice assistant managing editor Erica Sprey noted that prescribing opioid medications for patients can be risky for both physicians and patients due to the potential for addiction and drug diversion.

Sprey’s blog, which includes some great tips for how to properly manage chronic pain patients, also raises an important question:

How does the potential for drug diversion and addiction influence the way you care for patients with chronic pain? For instance, do you ever undertreat a patient's pain because of addition concerns or concerns of drug diversion? Does it affect your treatment decision if you know a patient has a history of addiction?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Your input could help another physician deal with this issue.

Facing a dilemma in practice? E-mail it to Aubrey.Westgate@ubm.com. We’ll share it without revealing your name, and we will ask other physician readers to weigh in.