7/23/2013, Medicaid Coverage Limits Access To Medications For Painkiller Addicts


A report commissioned by the American Society of Addiction Medicine found that Medicaid agencies in just 28 states cover all three of medications that the Food and Drug Administration has approved for opioid addiction treatment: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. The study also found that most state Medicaid agencies, even those that cover all three medications, place restrictions on getting them by requiring prior authorization and re-authorization, imposing lifetime limitations and tapering dosage strengths. The study was done by the substance abuse research firm Avisa Group…

Click to access the-evidence-against-methadone-as-a-preferred-analgesic.pdf

The Evidence Against Methadone as a “Preferred” Analgesic: A Position Statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine (2014)

The use of methadone as an analgesic for severe chronic pain has expanded in recent years.
It is effective for some patients, but has unique pharmacologic properties that call for
caution and expertise in administering it. Methadone shows up in mortality reports with
greater frequency than should be expected given the small number of prescriptions written
compared with other opioids. Despite this evidence of risk, most states have designated
methadone as a preferred analgesic, presumably because its low cost results in savings for
publicly-funded health plans…

While Medicaid pushes methadone on pain patients, it rarely allows this drug’s use to treat addiction.  The result is poisonings and deaths in pain patients, and the deaths of those who suffer from addiction because they had to choose other drugs for treatment (usually illegal ones).

8 thoughts on “7/23/2013, Medicaid Coverage Limits Access To Medications For Painkiller Addicts

  1. I’ve been on methadone for probably 7 years or more, and others before that wince 1993. i have honest to god pain issues. I take as little as i can, less than my dr would give me. All I need to do is ask. I’m not going to be fixed. Tapering wouldn’t work. Stopping doesn’t fix the problem. i found methadone to be better – no rollercoaster ride. it doesn’t take away all my pain but it does reduce it and make it tolerable unless i decide to stand up for more than15 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As long as you know the risks with methadone, like taking it with other kinds of drugs or alcohol, that drug can work just fine — just like hydrocodone or Oxy. I didn’t take methadone for that long, so I’m just wondering, during this 7-year period, how often have you had to increase the dosage?


      • I don’t drink. I stopped that when I got diagnosed with hep C . I also get an EKG every year. As for upping the dosage I take only 1/3 what I took when I started when I switched from percocet,which was a nightmare rollercoaster coaster ride. The great thing was that from the day I switched it was like turning on a light switch. I went from being in a fog to being normal. I got up that first morning and just got out of bed, felt so good I got crews and went for a walk. It gave me my life back. No withdrawal. Just normal. Over time I was able to cut it down until my liver failed and cancer set in and had a transplant. I wish I didn’t have to take anything for pain. I long way around to answer your question. I never had to increase my dosage from the original. 60mgs. Got it down to 10mgs and 2 months ago, up to 20mgs because neurophathy set in my feet. It’s not enough but I won’t take more.

        Drugs like hydrocodone you have to continually increase the dose.


    • I think your perception of hydrocodone is incorrect. Some patients react to hydrocodone just like you react to methadone. Everyone achieves different benefits from different drugs and for different lengths of time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure you are right. Everyone’s chemistry is different. This experience was mine. I had an appt with my pain Dr this afternoon. We talked about the possibility of this electrode they insert in your spine – temporarily. Almost like an internal tens unit. If it works they put a more permanent one in that is supposed to stop the pain from reaching the brain, but it won’t fix the damage. Only surgery can do that and this would be less invasive. I haven’t watched the dvd he sent home with me yet. Do you know anything about this? I can deal with all the other pains. The damaged disc from my spine shrinking 2 inches is intense.

        Liked by 1 person

    • The treatment you describe has had mixed results — but then, so has the less invasive TENS unit. But if you get relief from a TENS unit, then maybe there is a better chance you would have some success with the more invasive TENS therapy. I tried TENS, but it was more irritating than helpful. Similar to my experiences with acupuncture.

      But I don’t think TENS therapy stops the pain signals to the brain — I don’t think that’s possible. It can distract the pain signals — distract you from the pain — but it’s not the same as the distraction you can get from prescription medications. From what I’ve read, it helps some patients, but not for very long.

      As for surgery “fixing” the damage… I think the better description would be “repairing” the damage. And repairing this kind of damage is not like fixing a broken bone. I’m sorry to say that the damage you describe has likely already caused degenerative changes that can’t be fixed or repaired.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. they would rather have you addicted then give you the help that you are asking for… in the long run they stay on the street trying to find that high since it easy to find out there than fight to get and keep the medication to help stop the urge of wanting to get high and fight medicaid…they make it so hard for people that want to get help…road blocks everywhere..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been on probably most pain medications i have never felt a high off any of them and most have not helped me with my pain..bout ready to go off everything and i am talking lupus and fibro and shitload of other illnesses ..so sick of being on shit and putting it into my body..ok sorry end rant..may put rant on my page lolol…

    Liked by 1 person

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