Chronic pain patients angry over ‘opioid contracts’ fox news gas 85

“It is really meant to be used as a clear way to establish an understanding of [opioid] treatment guidelines and expectations of the patient and physician,” said Dr. Kavita Sharma, a board-certified pain physician with New York-based Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates.

“I’d never done anything wrong, but somehow the contract made me feel like I already had several strikes against me,” said Lynn Julian Crisci, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing attack and a patient advocate for the U.S. Pain Foundation.

“There are a variety of responses, but generally patients either say yes, of course, or they are clearly offended, refuse, and decline to continue their care with me,” said Dr. Britt Ehlert, a general internist practicing with Allina Health in Minnesota.

The conditions for receiving a prescription opioid outlined in this template include agreeing to urine drug screening for controlled or illegal substances, or the absence of a prescription opioid in their system — a sign that a person may be selling their pills.

“I was in so much pain that I needed medication to deal with it, but I have brain injuries and memory problems,” she said. “If I forgot to tell my doctor that I was given some other medication, I could have my pain medication taken away from me.”

“You’re basically saying to a patient: ‘You are in pain and there’s an indicated treatment for you. But I’m only going to give you that treatment if you sign this contract,’” Dr. Peter Schwartz, an associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, told Healthline.

“Quite the contrary,” he added, “it supports the relationship by clarifying the rules and conditions under which we can prescribe opioids. Like other written agreements, this helps us avoid any misunderstandings.” Opioid agreements are not contracts

This is similar to the kind of disclosure that happens when you start on any new treatment, such as a new cholesterol-lowering drug. Your doctor will explain the benefits and risks of the drug and tell you of any follow-up monitoring that’s needed.

“A signed written agreement is essential to set the ground rules in a fair and unbiased way so each patient has a clear understanding of how they are expected to behave,” Malone said. “Without these rules in place, it would be much riskier to prescribe opioids.”

“There are people who become addicted to prescription drugs and have overdosed, and that is undeniably tragic,” said Crisci. “But the solution is not, ‘Let’s take away everyone’s medication and punish you all.’ The solution should be addiction treatment, not punishing patients.” Improving treatment agreements

“It is key to treat the patient with respect and to actually take very good care of them clinically,” she told Healthline. “Over time, patients learn to trust you, and that becomes more important to them than the agreement you asked them to sign.”

“We have to confront the fact that we have people in pain who do not benefit from these medications or cannot comply with the requirements of these contracts,” said Schwartz. “We have to find a new way to balance our responsibility to use these medications appropriately with our commitment to compassionately treat pain.”