The government’s crackdown on quantities and refills of hydrocodone meds (Vicodin, Norco) commonly used by those with chronic pain was bound to happen.
The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association conducted an online survey of pain patients to assess the effects of this rescheduling at the patient level. The survey’s key findings included:
- Approximately two-thirds of respondents were unable to access hydrocodone products, with some doctors refusing to prescribe hydrocodone to those who had been taking it at the same dose for years. (Doctors are fearful of government scrutiny.)
• More than 15% of the respondents reported strains in their relationships with their doctors. (“Gatekeepers” at doctor’s offices can be responsible for a delay in the doctor not addressing patient requests.)
• A number of respondents reported an increased financial burden as a result of more frequent doctor visits, greater transportation expenses for those visits, higher medication co-pays, and lost income related to inability to work due to pain.
• 27% of respondents reported suicidal thoughts due to being denied their hydrocodone prescriptions.
The moral of the story should be obvious for chronic pain patients: Accumulate a backup supply if possible, which should have been done before the government stepped in and decided how much pain you need to endure before you are allowed some relief.
This situation is particularly onerous for seniors because doctors can no longer “call in” or otherwise transmit a hydrocodone prescription to the pharmacy. The patient must obtain a new prescription written on tamper-proof paper for each and every refill which requires a trip the doctor’s office. Which means, have your crutches, wheelchair or walker handy and hope you can find a parking spot within crawling distance of the doctor’s office.
In the meantime, illegal drugs continue to flood across the border unabated . . . you may be able to find what you need on the street in your nice neighborhood.
A disgraceful situation.