Last month, the DEA approved a change forÂ prescribing what are called â€œschedule-IIâ€ medications.Â These are â€œcontrolled substances,â€ which include narcotics as well as stimulants for ADD.Â Theyâ€™re labeled â€œcontrolled,â€ as they have the potential for addiction.
In the past, patients needed to go monthly to their doctorâ€™s office for an appointment for these medications to be prescribed.Â The new rules allow up to a 90 day supply given at a time.
How does this change things?
1.Â For stable patients whose meds are not changing, this eliminates the need for extra office visits.Â This can get rid of office visits:
- which arenâ€™t medically needed
- which waste time for both patients and doctors
- for which patients need to travek,Â which can increase pain for patients
2.Â For physicians, this rule can:
- eliminate visits which arenâ€™t needed
- make room for patients who really need to come in
1.Â If your condition or medications are changing, be sure youâ€™re scheduling visits as often as is medically needed.Â The 90-day limit is an option, not a requirement.
2.Â 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?Â Do they help you?Â Any concerns?Â Share your thoughts in the comments.
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