There are many challenges in caring for those with chronic pain. One of them is drug monitoring. While such patients do require strong painkillers, there is a balance that has to be achieved between providing pain medication and overprescribing. Those in the health care industry – like Dry Harbor – are often involved in this type of delicate medication management.
The recent recommendation by the FDA to add restrictions on widely-used hydrocodone-based painkillers could be challenging for caretakers in nursing homes. In all likelihood the FDA will follow this recommendation which will make it much harder to prescribe these drugs. On the other hand, the argument is that it could lessen the increasing problem of painkiller addiction that peaked in the late 1990s and is still an issue today.
Thus, at the recent hearing at FDA headquarters, many people spoke out against the change. Advocates for nursing home patients argued that frail residents experiencing chronic pain would have to go to a doctor’s office for a prescription. This is challenging when they are already so weak. In addition, PAs and NPs might no longer be able to prescribe the drugs which makes the situation much harder for those in need living in less central areas.