Tricky statistics used against chronic pain patients

Pharmacist Steve says:

Isn’t it amazing how LARGE NUMBERS makes things sound BAD…  but when you break down the numbers, the picture is much different:

259 million Rxs…  Let’s presume that 25% are for acute or intermittent pain. Leaving 195 million Rxs for chronic pain patients. Proper protocol for treating chronic pain is one long acting and one short acting for breakthru. Then most people will get a 30 days supply at a time. That means that about 8 million chronic pain pts could get proper pain management using these numbers. There is a estimated 106 million chronic pain patients…  So this GROSS NUMBER OF 259 million would suggest that <10% of chronic pain patients get proper pain management therapy with oral opiates. So the epidemic… would seem to be a PANDEMIC of DENIAL OF CARE for chronic pain patients.

HHS Secretary: 259 Million Opioid Prescriptions in U.S. in 2012 Outnumbered American Adults

Burwell offered three solutions to the problem of opioid overdose. The first solution, she said, is prescribing. Burwell proposed providing new prescribing guidelines for pain and pain medication and the use of “prescription drug monitoring plans,” which exist in almost all 50 states…

More than half of patients with terminal cancer, for example, suffer from poorly managed pain, according to a report in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care…

For people suffering from severe cancer pain, for example, hospice providers often advise caregivers to give them pain medication at safe, regular intervals to prevent “breakthrough” pain — sudden bouts of relentless, uncontrolled pain. If you wait until the patient asks for pain medication, he or she may already be suffering, and the pain will be harder to get under control…

But when pain gets tough, doctors need to move to the third step on the ladder and prescribe the most effective drugs in their arsenal. That means opioid drugs such as morphine. “Opioids are really essential,” Dahl says, especially for patients with cancer pain. Opioids can also be effective for treating the pain from damaged nerves — doctors call it “neuropathic” pain — that’s often associated with diabetes or other diseases that attack the nervous system, she says…

You need to have cancer or be knocking on death’s door to deserve adequate pain treatment.

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