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Overprescribing pain medication can have serious consequences

Many Pittsburgh residents will need a prescription pain medication at least once in their lives. Surgery, injuries and other circumstances can lead to a person needing pain medication. Doctors have the responsibility to provide these medications in an accurate and appropriate manner. Most of the time this happens, but occasionally medication errors occur.

Most doctors agree that there is a problem with the overuse of prescription pain medication but the majority believe they themselves do not overprescribe the medication. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has shown that between 2000 and 2010 the use of prescription drugs has nearly doubled in the U.S. The drugs lead to abuse and addiction for many patients. These painkillers include hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and oxycodone. The drugs work by blocking the feeling of pain for patients but they can also lead to withdrawal symptoms, cravings and mood swings.

Doctors need to know how to safely prescribe pain medication and to make sure their patient is receiving benefit from the medication and is not becoming addicted. Taking the time to learn their patient’s symptoms can help doctors make sure they are making the right decision in prescribing medication or if there is a better route to take.

Patients and their families who believe they have been harmed by a prescription medication error may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review medical records and medication records and determine what caused the serious injury. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, “Doctors: Painkillers overprescribed, but not by me,” Kimberly Leonard, Dec. 8, 2014