Critics say a new Medicare rule that would prevent payment for long-term, high-dose opioid prescriptions could harm pain patients, according to The New York Times.
The rule is designed to reduce the problem of opioids being overprescribed to elderly and disabled patients. It is expected to be approved on April 2.
Opponents of the new rule, including some patients with chronic pain, primary care doctors and experts in pain management and addiction medicine, say it could force patients into withdrawal or even lead them to buy dangerous street drugs. If approved, the rule would take effect on January 1, 2019.
About two dozen states and many private insurers have already put limits on opioids, the article notes.
Commentary: Alternative to Opioids – A Pain Doctor’s Perspective
The unfortunate reflex for most doctors when they hear complaints of pain is to simply write a prescription for narcotic pain medications. There are more than enough alternatives to opioids when treating pain and pain management specialists are trained to work with patients to offer these solutions, explains Dr. Corey Hunter of The Ainsworth Institute of Pain Management.