Suicide by chronic pain sufferers after opioids reduced

  1. This article gives food for thought.

    Cracking Down on Opioids Hurts People With Chronic Pain - Tonic

    The current policies are pressuring doctors to reduce longstanding opioid prescriptions. The former regulatory policies encouraged the medical community to prescribe them in the first place.

    These patients are having the rug pulled out from under them. Some of them just can't take it and are ending their own lives.
    Last edit by Emergent on Jun 12
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    About Emergent, RN

    Joined: Dec '13; Posts: 2,520; Likes: 18,324


  3. by   Davey Do
    Wow. So much could be said.

    Thanks for the link, Emergent. Sad case. Sad story.

    It makes me rethink a concept I read years ago in the book about suicide, Night Falls Fast where I believe the author relayed that people with chronic pain rarely take their own lives. Maybe I should reread that book.

    A veteran with Parkinson's had his pain med decreased. He resorts to buying it off the streets. Illegal, but perhaps a better option than suicide.

    The same sort of dosage decreasing goes on with psychotropics. For example, many psychiatrists cut down or discontinue antipsychotics due to guidelines and we deal with lots of admissions as a result of patients' exacerbation of their psychotic symptoms.

    It seems to be that things were better when the power was more in the hands of the professionals & patients and not the bureaucracy.

    I don't know. Maybe my memory is merely a result of "the sweetest days were the days that use to be".
  4. by   brownbook
    I have nothing against "pain is pain", and giving chronic pain patients as much pain meds as they are ordered. I gave a patient 1000 micrograms of fentanyl over (I don't remember exactly) but around half an hour, per anesthesia orders. It didn't phase him, (didn't phase me), I think, hope, it keep his pain at a dull roar. He was in for an epidural spinal steroid injection for chronic back pain.

    My boss asked me about it the next day, I simply told her it was ordered by anesthesia, the patient was on massive doses of pain meds at home, and it didn't do much, if anything to his mentation or breathing. She was fine with that.

    It is shocking to think a MD is so stupid as to bluntly, abruptly, tell a chronic pain patient their dosage will be cut. I hate lawsuits, but that doctor should be sued! I'm only an ADN nurse but I can figure out on my own that limiting opioid use does not apply to someone on opioids for many months or years.

    However evidenced based studies show that long term opioids are not helpful, and may worsen, chronic pain. I compare this to antibiotic resistance, super bugs. Hopefully everybody is on board with cutting down antibiotic use, (seems it has only taken about 20 years for that to filter down to everyday practice). The same mind set needs to start with opioids use. But not abruptly for a chronic pain, long time opioid user.
    Last edit by brownbook on Jun 12
  5. by   Rocknurse
    This is happening all over and is, in my opinion, self-defeating. What's going to happen is that by denying patients their pain meds it will push people to buy unsafely off the street and potentially buy contaminated product laced with Fentanyl. This will do nothing but contribute to the opioid death statistics. I can't see how denying legitimate patients their meds can help. I am on a prescription myself for a chronic incurable health condition, and luckily my doctor treats me like an equal professional and said to me she has no wish to pull the rug from under my feet, which I appreciated. I'm sure others who are not afforded that same respect won't have that luxury. I believe that those who demonstrate they are able to responsibly use medication as they are supposed to should be left alone, and agree that there should be some restrictions on prescribing for acute conditions. However, I'm lately hearing about patients undergoing surgery with inadequate medication and don't agree with that at all. These are frightening times.
  6. by   blondy2061h
    I have excruciating neck pain and after years of Botox, nerve blocks, tramadol, and being offered nsaids I'm allergic too, I've had moments where I have thought suicide might be my only option. Thankfully, I've got a decent pain management doctor now. It's insane pushing Dilaudid at work on someone eating nachos and laughing on the phone then another day having tears running down my own face and being offered a toradol shot by a doctor I've told at every appointment I really am allergic to nsaids, call my allergist if you don't believe me.