5 Reasons Doctors Sometimes Refuse to Write Pain Med Prescriptions

There has been a lot of talk about prescription painkillers in recent years. Thanks to an ongoing opioid crisis for which there seems to be no real solution, prescription pain medications have taken center stage in the war against drugs.

Also at center stage are doctors who often find themselves in a precarious position: having to refuse to write pain med prescriptions. But why? The answer is not as simple as it seems. Pain medications themselves are not so simple. Doctors need to consider many factors to determine whether a prescription is appropriate.

1. Misuse and Addiction

Misuse and addiction are always a possibility when doctors are prescribing narcotic painkillers. By their very nature, narcotics are addictive. The longer a person takes a narcotic painkiller, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. And even when addiction is not obvious, painkillers can still be misused by patients, their family members, and anyone else who gets their hands on them.

A patient misusing prescription painkillers is problematic enough. If that misuse eventually leads to addiction, the prescribing physician now has a dilemma. Do they continue feeding the addiction with more prescriptions, or do they try to move the patient to something else?

2. Potential Liability

The doctor’s dilemma also includes a certain amount of liability. Doctors are held accountable when their treatments and recommendations cause harm. That’s why they carry medical malpractice insurance. Unfortunately, there is always a certain amount of risk associated with prescription painkillers. A doctor may refuse to write painkiller prescriptions for certain patients because the liability risk is too high.

3. Unclear Standards

Another reason doctors might refuse to write painkiller prescriptions is a lack of clear standards relating to individual cases. The FDA, AMA, and other organizations have established clear guidelines for most uses of prescription painkillers. But most does not equal all. There are times when the standards are not clear; there are times when the guidelines are more gray than black-and-white.

Without clear guidance about a particular patient and their condition, a doctor might be afraid to write a painkiller prescription. That is the time to call in colleagues for consultation. But even at that, reaching a consensus could be challenging.

4. Alternative Treatments Are Available

Yet another reason for refusing to write prescriptions is the availability of alternative treatments. Lone Star Pain Medicine is a Weatherford, TX pain clinic that specializes in such treatments. They rely on things like injection therapies and nerve blocks to treat chronic pain.

You might have a doctor who believes that an alternative treatment is more appropriate than painkillers. Likewise, an alternative treatment might be better than an invasive surgical procedure, especially since surgery often leads to writing painkiller prescriptions.

5. A Lack of Information

Finally, doctors are known for refusing to write painkiller prescriptions when they do not have enough information about a patient or their condition. There is a reason for this. Doctors always need to be concerned about the practice of doctor shopping. This is a practice whereby patients or drug dealers shop around for doctors willing to write prescriptions sight unseen.

A doctor seeing a new patient for the first time will probably want to do a thorough examination, complete with diagnostics, before writing a prescription. This is for both the doctor’s safety and the patient’s. Without sufficient knowledge, a prescription could be too risky.

Doctors are more cautious with painkiller prescriptions these days. That is a good thing. It is unfortunate they are not equally cautious with all prescription medications. Medication isn’t always the answer.