Texas doctors may over-prescribe prescription pain medication

Texas doctors may over-prescribe pain medication, which can lead to several issues for patients, including accidental drug overdose and drug abuse.

If you recently visited your Texas-based doctor for a serious injury, medical procedure or health issue, you may have received a prescription for pain medication. Before you start taking it, note there is a chance your physician may have negligently prescribed more medication than you need.

The issue

The core of the issue is that some doctors over-prescribe pain medication, which can increase a patient's potential for inadvertently abusing opioids. There is a link between over-prescription and the opioid crisis in the U.S., which has led to multiple accidental opioid overdoses. Because U.S. doctors write more than 80% of all the world's opioid prescriptions, not all of which people take for pain, you can understand why it is essential to use utmost caution with pain medication. Opioids, no matter their source, are highly addictive and habit-forming for some people.

Potential solutions

One proposal for cutting back on pain medication over-prescription is to have medical professionals send surgery patients home with fewer pills. Patients then have the option of refilling a prescription, if need be. This way, patients do not have to worry about paying for medication they do not need, and there is less of a chance of someone stealing or misusing unused medication.

Another potential solution is to make it easy for patients to return any pills they do not take by dropping them off at an approved pharmacy or through a mail-back program. So far, this is an underutilized option.

Giving patients painkillers that do not last as long as current pain medications is another possible solution. One problem with this strategy is that it may leave patients feeling more pain and less relief overall when compared to the length of relief experienced with longer-lasting opioids. Also, shorter-acting prescriptions could mean patients have to take more pills overall.

Physician concerns

Doctors are aware of the prevalence of over-prescribing pain medication. Unfortunately, their awareness has not garnered the best response. The issue is that some physicians now under-prescribe medication, taking patients off their medications and leaving them withdrawal symptoms or in agonizing pain.

What makes under-prescribing opioids worse is that some patients experience thoughts of suicide as a result of suddenly being taken off high doses of prescription pain medication. It is also not usual for patients to turn to illicit substances as a substitute for a legally prescribed medication.

Is there a chance your Texas doctor prescribed you more pain medication than you feel is necessary? Maybe you have developed a dependency on your medication. In either case, contact a legal expert to explore your rights and means of legal and medical recourse.