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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Why Doctors Are Cutting Patients Off Of Their Pain Medications

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Aug 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

One of the most common reasons for getting Social Security disability benefits is chronic pain. This can arise following an accident or an injury. Other times, chronic pain is a result of such long-term conditions as arthritis or neuropathy.  In the recent past, doctors, particularly those who run pain clinics, have been dispensing powerful medications, including opioids, without many limitations. That may be changing.

Regulations Gone Too Far?

A new article in the USA Today documents how some doctors are choosing to stop writing prescriptions for opioids. The reason? They are afraid of running afoul of both scientific recommendations and state laws. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidelines to doctors,

Now You See Them . . .

suggesting that they taper their use of opioids to treat chronic pain.  Many patients feel that the doctors went too far in cutting back. The CDC notice and issued new guidelines in 2019, saying that doctors should not automatically reduce the use of opioids where such patients as those with cancer and other diseases need them.

Doctors Have Other Reasons To Fear Writing Pain Prescriptions

Even with the change in the CDC recommendations, doctors were slow to resume prescribing opioids. Doses went from 46 billion in 2016 to 32 billion in 2018. Doctors may be slow to return to earlier levels of opioid usage because several states have passed laws that limit how many pills a doctor can provide. Some of these laws mandate that a patient can only have a 3-5 day supply and then must return to get more.

Think Twice Before Signing

Finally, some doctors are very worried about contributing to their patient's addiction to pain killers. There are countless stories of people overdosing and even dying from opioids.  These outcomes could lead to regulators fining doctors and to patients or their families suing doctors.

Stuck In The Middle

Against this backdrop, it is easy to see why doctors have cut back on dispensing opioids. In the long run, this will probably be a good thing. But, for those patients who need large amounts of pain killers right now, they are caught in a bind with no easy solution in sight.

Has your doctor reduced your pain pill prescription? Cut you off completely? Let me know.

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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