Research reported this week in HealthDay, U.S. News and World Report’s e-Newsletter, states that how long a patient takes opioid painkillers after surgery is a much stronger risk factor for addiction and overdose than the dosage of the opioids taken.
A recent article on the Healthcare Law Today web site discussed how telemedicine providers are dealing with e-prescribing and controlled substances. As providers become more comfortable with delivering care via telemedicine, telehealth, and digital health technologies, some are exploring services beyond low acuity consults. One area of opportunity – and notable confusion – is prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine. This particularly affects specialties that couple chronic disease management with pharmacotherapy.
When opioids are to be used to treat psychiatric or pain disorders, the practitioners must educate themselves regarding the neuroscience of opioids so that they can competently prescribe these medications for use in psychiatric and chronic pain syndromes. At a minimum, the treating healthcare professional should be aware of some of the more common medical side effects of the opioids.