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Study shows doctor's offices can help stem abuse of Oxycontin, other narcotic painkillers
Date:4/10/2008

gn listing the monitoring steps that were now standard for clinic patients requesting opioids, the types of behaviors that would result in ending the patients eligibility for opioid prescriptions, and the conditions (such as forging prescriptions or being abusive to staff) that would result in immediate barring of a patient from the clinic.

Fourth, the team implemented annual and random urine screening for all patients requiring opioids for non-cancer pain, to monitor for illegal drugs such as cocaine and unexpected use of other prescribed medications that can interact dangerously with the prescribed opioids.

Meddings stresses that patients whose monitoring turned up signs of dependence or abuse werent reported to the police, but rather were referred for treatment. Pain specialists who are licensed to provide buprenorphine can help wean patients from an opioid dependence, while others can get help from drug and alcohol abuse specialists, and community services such as Narcotics Anonymous.

In the end, Meddings says, the policy appears to have achieved much of what it set out to do. Now, she hopes that other clinics around the country can adopt the same strategy to help them walk the tightrope safely, and patch up the holes in the safety net that allow opioid abuse and diversion to persist.

Meddings and her co-authors note that the policys implementation was enabled by the efforts of the OSU Internal Medicine residents and General Medicine Clinic faculty and staff. The review and preparation of the research results being presented at the SGIM meeting was greatly assisted by Meddings colleagues in U-M General Medicine.


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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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