A recent study was published looking at how primary care doctors handle chronic pain patients. Researchers out of Kansas City and San Antonio reviewed the records of over 690,000 patients who presented with chronic nonmalignant pain to primary care physicians.
What they found was very interesting. Over 97% of the chronic pain individuals were prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. This may have included a medicine such as ibuprofen, naproxen, Celebrex or one of the many other varieties of oral anti-inflammatory medications.
Tylenol, known as acetaminophen, was rarely prescribed. The researchers felt that since it was readily available over-the-counter and because the vast majority of patients had already tried it, that was the reason for the low percentage. Interestingly, only 10.5% of The patients that presented with chronic pain received narcotic medications from the primary care doctors.
What this data shows is that there is an extreme reluctance on the part of most primary care doctors to prescribe narcotics for chronic pain. The researchers did not expand too much on why they thought this was the case.
Most likely it comes down to a multitude of factors such as concern over liability, inexperience, and the desire to simply have a specialist deal with all of the narcotic and pain management patients. Arizona IMA has a Double Board Certified worker’s comp pain management doctor, Dr. Demitri Adarmes.