A high number of Medicare patients are getting painkillers from multiple doctors

By Laura Hundemer,

A recent study shows that over 35 percent of Medicare beneficiaries receive painkillers from more than one doctor. Researchers expected the number to be around 10 percent and are shocked that the number is this high.

The study from the Harvard Medical School analyzed 1.8 million seniors enrolled in Medicare who receive drugs called opioids. Opioids include various types of painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Receiving prescriptions from more than one doctor is very dangerous and can put patients' health in jeopardy. According to TheAlmagest, study co-author Pinar Karaca-Mandic explained, “Patients with four or more prescribers were twice as likely to be hospitalized for narcotics-related complications than patients receiving the same number of prescriptions from a single caregiver.”

According to Science World Report, over the last 20 years the use of opioids has increased steadily and researchers believe a key cause could be that patients are receiving prescriptions from multiple doctors. Many doctors were unaware that their patients received prescriptions from other sources.



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