More and more chronic pain patients are “forced to navigate their transition off prescribed opioids, often with little or no assistance or guidance, with the potential for disastrous results,” explain the authors of a well-written NEJM editorial about the serious medical consequences of physicians choosing to “simplify their lives by discontinuing prescribing of opioid analgesics.”
And why would physicians stop prescribing opioids? “The most important contributor to a desire to stop prescribing opioids is the effect of opioid prescribing on clinicians’ emotional well-being.”
Translation: dealing with opioids professionally is a huge bummer.
It’s difficult to walk into an exam room knowing that we have to significantly reduce or stop a patient’s opioid treatment — and then deal with the lengthy, emotional, possibly confrontational encounter that typically ensues.
“It’s difficult.” An understatement, I am sure.