Millions of U.S. cancer patients suffer unnecessarily because doctors fail to adequately treat their pain, says a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Although the study did not investigate why this is the case, common reasons identified in the TMA course, Ethics and Regulation of Pain Management, include fear that patients will become addicted to opioids and fear of disciplinary action by the Texas Medical Board.
To help handle risk associated with prescribing pain medication, the TMA course recommends using a pain management treatment agreement, signed by the patient and the treatment team. The agreement should:
- Specify what medication(s) is prescribed, how often, and in what doses,
- Assign to one physician exclusive management of all opioid medications for that patient,
- Specify one pharmacy to be used, and
- Include provisions for “lost” prescriptions.
Ethics and Regulation of Pain Management is a one-hour course available through the TMA Education Center.
Revised Oct. 28, 2013
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