There is no credible doubt that there is a major problem with opioid addiction in the United States. Countless lives have been lost and families destroyed due to the over-prescription of powerful opiate-based drugs to patients who developed raging addictions.
Inevitably, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction, and now doctors are refusing to write prescriptions for opiate-based drugs even for patients with clear medical needs. But what they may not have anticipated was the fatal fallout from their decisions to taper down otherwise stable patients suffering from chronic pain.
Research conducted by physician scholars at the University of California Davis demonstrated a significant uptick in the rates of mental health crises and drug overdoses in patients considered stabilized on opiate-based drugs when their dosages were tapered and cut off. Those patients who were allowed to continue their stable dosages to treat control chronic pain did not experience the same potentially lethal episodes.
Author addresses findings
The lead author of the study, a medical doctor who also holds Master’s degrees in Public Health and a related field, stated, “We were surprised by the magnitude of the associations found in our analyses . . . since we looked only at hospital and emergency events, this could be just the tip of the iceberg of suffering that patients experience when tapering.”
This study, published in the esteemed JAMA, appears to refute the presumption that tapering opiate-based drugs in chronic pain patients is unilaterally safe.
Avoidable adverse events and deaths can indicate malpractice
The fact is that medicine is not an exact science with a one-size-fits-all treatment plan for all patients. If a doctor’s actions or inactions led to an adverse event or fatality for you or a loved one, there may be a path to civil justice.