Why Are Some Doctors Overprescribing Prescription Painkillers?

Posted on May 18, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

medication errors

Overprescribing medications has become an enormous problem in the American healthcare community, especially with opiate-based prescription painkillers. Florida has a history with the over prescription of opiate-based prescription painkillers.

In 2010, Centers for Disease Control statistics showed that 98 of the 100 top oxycodone-prescribing doctors practiced medicine in Florida. However, not all doctors run pill mills in our state, and legitimate practices can unknowingly put patients at risk for an unintentional overdose.

According to a study published in The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, some areas of medicine overprescribe prescription painkillers more than other areas. As a specialization, orthopedic surgeons were responsible for prescribing 7.7 percent of opioid-based prescription painkillers, putting the practice behind primary care physicians at 28.8 percent. Orthopedic surgeons help patients with musculoskeletal diseases and injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The author of the study claims there are many reasons orthopedic surgeons prescribe prescription painkillers. Musculoskeletal injuries can involve fractures, casts and painful periods of recovery. In some cases, musculoskeletal conditions can only be treated and not cured.

Why Must Doctors Avoid Overprescribing Prescription Painkillers?

According to the study’s author, prescription painkillers are one way to treat musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, but over-the-counter medications are options as well. Doctors could limit the use of prescription painkillers when able, and keep a clear line of communication with patients on the dangers of powerful prescription medications.

Opiate-based prescription painkillers are responsible for more accidental overdose deaths in the United States every year than any other type of medication. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 44 people die from prescription painkiller overdose in the U.S. every day.

When doctors put the health of patients at risk by overprescribing dangerous medications, survivors or family members might be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Shapiro Law GroupTampa Bay Medical Malpractice Attorneys

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