When government, politicians, and law enforcement take control of the practice of medicine this is what we get: Cruelty and incompetence. The next time you're given Tylenol for a broken leg or post-surgical pain you'll understand. Drs. Jeffrey Singer and Josh Bloom in USA Today.
A decade ago, most people thought of Tylenol (acetaminophen) as a medicine for fever, malaise and minor aches and pains. Nobody imagined that it would become the go-to drug for treating moderate, let alone severe, postoperative pain.
But this is just what has happened. Thanks to pressure from lawmakers, government agencies and policymakers who inserted themselves into the patient-doctor relationship, patients became the victims of the never-ending war on drugs.
Now, doctors frequently offer only acetaminophen to treat painful conditions despite the drug’s inability to remedy them.
Doctors pressured to avoid pain medication
Policymakers’ exaggerated fear of opioids has pressured hospitals, doctors and dentists to switch to acetaminophen, no matter how severe the patient's pain. Sometimes, the drug is given intravenously in high doses as part of "opioid-sparing protocols." We believe using the drug in this way is ill-advised, cruel, and borders on malpractice.
Lawmakers believed they had to do something about the opioid overdose crisis, which has grown exponentially since the 1970s. The crisis was driven by a growing population of nonmedical drug users accessing drugs from the black market.
States dictate rules on prescriptions
Now, nearly 40 states have passed laws dictating the maximum number and dose of opioids that doctors are permitted to prescribe to their patients, all based on the misguided notion that medical use of prescription pain pills caused the crisis.
#Reprinted with permission. The entire USA Today op-ed can be read here.