Most Chronic Pain Patients Do Not Take Prescribed Dosage of Meds

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide July 27, 2007
  • When it comes to taking pain medications, do you take them at the dosage and frequency your doctor prescribed? If so, according to a recent article on MyWestTexas.com, you may be in the minority.

    When Ameritox, a company that does urine analysis for physicians’ patients, studied 240,000 long-term chronic pain patients, they found that 77 percent were not in compliance with their physician’s directions. Thirty percent of the samples tested contained prescription drugs other than those prescribed by their physician, while 11 percent contained illegal substances. In addition the study found that 13 percent showed a lower dosage of medication than prescribed and 30 percent of the samples did not show any of the prescribed medication.

    Of course, one of the big concerns is that people are posing as pain patients, getting prescriptions for narcotic medications, then selling them on the black market. Unfortunately, it’s those people who make it more difficult for those of us in real pain to get adequate treatment.

    An Ameritox press release revealed another startling statistic. A study from Cornell University found that when it came to detecting whether a patient was misusing medications or taking them as prescribed, doctors were wrong as much as 90 percent of the time.

    Of course, Ameritox has a vested interest in convincing the medical community to monitor chronic pain patients. But if these figures are correct, they do have a point. While monitoring is something none of us would look forward to, if it meant that doctors no longer had to live in fear of prosecution for prescribing the medications their pain patients need, then I wouldn’t object.

    I’d like to know how you feel about this issue. Do you take your medications as directed or do you take more or less depending on how you feel? Would you be willing to undergo regular monitoring if it meant you could get the pain relief you need? Tell me what you think.