Subsequent to the CDC’s new guidelines regarding the treatment of chronic pain, The National Safety Council (NSC) released its latest survey regarding doctor prescribing practices. Summarized below, the statistics

CDC Guidelines: Use non-opioid therapies first.
NSC Stats: 74% of doctors erroneously believe opioids (morphine, oxycodone) are the most effective way to treat pain.
The Missing Link: Research shows OTC pain meds (ibuprofen, acetaminophen) offer the most effective relief for acute pain.

CDC Guidelines: Do not use opioids for the routine treatment of chronic pain.
NSC Stats: 67% of doctors base there prescribing practices – in part – on patient expectations.
The Missing Link: Patients are often unaware – and doctors wary to inform them – of the effectiveness of alternative treatments for pain. 50% of those patients would return to those prescribers offering alternative treatment.

CDC Guidelines: No longer than 3 days of opioid treatment, beginning with the lowest effective dose.
NSC Stats: 99% of doctors are prescribing these highly addictive drugs for longer than the CDCs recommended time frame – 23% for at least a month.
The Missing Link: Though doctors have the best interests of patients at heart, additional education and training on effective pain management are integral to curbing the rising opioid epidemic.

CDC Guidelines: Address harms of opioid use and assess risk for abuse prior to opioid therapy.
NSC Stats: 84% screen for abuse.
The Missing Link: Only 32% screen for a family history of addiction – a strong indicator.

CDC Guidelines: Re-evaluate risks of continued therapy regularly.
NSC Stats: 99% of doctors have seen a pill-seeking patient – only 32% refer pill-seekers to treatment.
The Missing Link(s): 88% of doctors find referrals overly difficult due to patient unwillingness to cooperate, lack of insurance coverage for such treatments, long wait lists, or lack of providers.

Actionable Treatment Recommendations

ANS’s Pharmacotherapy Review Program employs a three staged approach to ensure economically balanced and appropriate treatment options for injured workers. Our legal nurse experts are able to present actionable treatment modification recommendations in a written proposal to treating physicians. Key items of interest covered through the recommendations include:

  • Consolidation and coordination of drug therapies between multiple prescribers.
  • Consideration of alternate therapies.
  • Specification of weaning programs for over-prescribed narcotics.
  • Use of generics where applicable.

The end result is a cost effective treatment regimen that simultaneously enhances the quality of care for injured workers. To find out more contact ANS today.