Study: Reducing Opioid Dosages Not Linked to Lower Patient Satisfaction

For years, medical professionals have overprescribed opioids to treat chronic and acute pain. One of the many reasons for this was that doctors and other prescribers feared negative feedback and evaluations from their patients if they did not alleviate their pain.

However, a recent study has found that patient satisfaction scores did not drop significantly for physicians when they reduced opioid dosages.

The study, conducted by researchers from Kaiser Permanente, tracked patient encounters with 2,491 chronic-pain patients in Southern California prescribed high doses of opioids for at least six consecutive months from 2009 to 2014.

In cases in which doctors reduced opioid dosages, patients remained satisfied with their doctors more than 86 percent of the time.

This is certainly a promising development for prescribers. For years, the threat or fear of negative patient feedback served as a deterrent to finding more effective and safe treatment avenues for pain that would minimize the risk of opioid dependency.

The medical community will play a major role in overcoming the opioid crisis, and studies such as this one provide evidence that responsible prescribing practices are vital to stemming the tide of this epidemic.

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