Last month, the DEA approved a change for prescribing what are called “schedule-II” medications. These are “controlled substances,” which include narcotics as well as stimulants for ADD. They’re labeled “controlled,” as they have the potential for addiction.
In the past, patients needed to go monthly to their doctor’s office for an appointment for these medications to be prescribed. The new rules allow up to a 90 day supply given at a time.
How does this change things?
1. For stable patients whose meds are not changing, this eliminates the need for extra office visits. This can get rid of office visits:
- which aren’t medically needed
- which waste time for both patients and doctors
- for which patients need to travek, which can increase pain for patients
2. For physicians, this rule can:
- eliminate visits which aren’t needed
- make room for patients who really need to come in
1. If your condition or medications are changing, be sure you’re scheduling visits as often as is medically needed. The 90-day limit is an option, not a requirement.
2. There are concerns regarding mis-use of medications, with a 90-day break between visits giving things a chance to get out of hand, such as:
- not using medications appropriately
- patients at risk of addiction not getting adequate supervision with medications
- your condition changing and not getting adequate medication treatment
How to minimize the risks:
- Both patients and doctors need to think carefully about who is seen less than monthly.
- Patients need to report if they begin to use medications unwisely.
- Doctors need to be sure regular monitoring for mis-use of medication is done.
So what do you think about the new guidelines? Do they help you? Any concerns? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Other articles you might be interest in:
- Narcotic or Opiate Medication
- Are You a Dinosaur Who Criss-crosses Goat and White Mosquito?
- Does Your Pharmacist Look Down His Nose At You?
Deadline for your March Pain-Blog Carnival submission is 3/21.